Current evidence and applications of photodynamic therapy in dermatology

Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014 May 21;7:145-63. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S35334. eCollection 2014.


In photodynamic therapy (PDT) a photosensitizer - a molecule that is activated by light - is administered and exposed to a light source. This leads both to destruction of cells targeted by the particular type of photosensitizer, and immunomodulation. Given the ease with which photosensitizers and light can be delivered to the skin, it should come as no surprise that PDT is an increasingly utilized therapeutic in dermatology. PDT is used commonly to treat precancerous cells, sun-damaged skin, and acne. It has reportedly also been used to treat other conditions including inflammatory disorders and cutaneous infections. This review discusses the principles behind how PDT is used in dermatology, as well as evidence for current applications of PDT.

Keywords: acne; actinic keratosis; aminolevulinic acid; methylaminolevulinate; photodynamic therapy; skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Review