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Single Low-dose Red Light is as Efficacious as Methyl-aminolevulinate-Photodynamic Therapy for Treatment of Acne: Clinical Assessment and Fluorescence Monitoring

Journal article
Authors Camilla Hörfelt
Bo Stenquist
Christina Halldin
Marica B Ericson
Ann-Marie Wennberg
Published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica
Volume 89
Issue 4
Pages 372-378
ISSN 0001-5555
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 372-378
Language en
Subject categories Dermatology and Venereal Diseases


This controlled study investigated single low-dose red light photodynamic therapy and methyl-aminolevulinate (MAL) for treatment of moderate to severe facial acne in 19 patients. The right cheek was treated with MAL (160 mg/g) for 3 h prior to illumination. The left cheek received red light only. Both cheeks were illuminated with narrow-band red light (635 nm) at a light dose of 15 J/cm(2). The global severity of acne was assessed at baseline and at follow-up, 10 and 20 weeks after treatment. Fluorescence images, clinical photographs and skin surface biopsies were obtained. Both MAL-photodynamic therapy and control areas showed a significant decrease in acne score at follow-up; no significant difference was found compared with control. MAL-photodynamic therapy was associated with adverse effects such as erythema and stinging. Fluorescence images revealed poor selectivity of MAL-induced fluorescence to the acne lesions, suggesting a general photoablating mechanism rather than selective destruction of sebaceous glands. No significant reduction in Propionibacterium acnes or sebum excretion was found.

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