New Hope for Aging Skin

Aging and the sun’s ultraviolet rays can become a rather insidious collusion when it comes to the appearance of your skin.  Repeated sun exposure can result in chronic skin damage, and one of the hallmark signs of this process is a combination of deep wrinkles, vertical creases, and loose or sagging skin.  Other factors such as stress, poor diet, smoking and lack of sleep can also accelerate premature aging of the skin and contribute to unhealthy skin in general.

Photorejuvenation, an anti-aging technological breakthrough with proven effectiveness, has been defined as the process of using laser and other light sources for restoring skin to a more youthful appearance.  This application of photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been shown to improve or reduce skin roughness, lentigines (small dark spots on the skin), sallow complexion and fine wrinkles.   In addition, there is some evidence that intense pulsed light (IPL) can help slow facial aging.

Recent insights in this relatively new field come from the Samsung Medical Center at Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, Korea.  The authors set out to evaluate whether photodynamic therapy with intense pulsed light (IPL-PDT) was an effective strategy for photorejuvenation.

The researcherrs used a relatively new formulation of 0.5% 5-aminolevulinic acid liposomal spray, which has the advantage of being readily absorbed into the skin. They designed a randomized study to evaluate the safety and usefulness of IPL-PDT using a liposomal spray for wrinkles around the eyes in a group of Asian adults.

The patients received three treatments every three weeks.  Half of the face was treated with IPL-PDT while the other half received the long-pulsed Nd: YAG laser (LPNY). Skin fluorescence was measured using spectrophotometer in order to help guide the PDT treatment.  A wrinkle score was carried out independently by two dermatologists, each of whom was blinded from the other’s findings and the identity of the participants.

Judging between the first and last visit, the difference of average reduction in the wrinkle score on the PDT side was statistically significant.  Moreover, the lateral wrinkles around the eyes responded better to PDT than to LPNY, and 25 percent of patients reported good to excellent outcomes.  Only one patient dropped out of the study due to a three-day reddening of the skin on PDT side.

This study demonstrated that PDT with a liposomal spray provided modest wrinkle reduction without serious adverse effect and it might be a promising treatment modality for wrinkle treatment in Asians.  Thus photo rejuvenation may offer new hope for aging skin.  These findings were published online ahead of print in the 10 June 2014 Journal of Dermatology Treatment.


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Shin HT, Kim JH, Shim J, Lee JH, Lee DY, Lee JH, Yang JM. Photodynamic therapy using a new formulation of, 5-aminolevulinic acid for wrinkles in asian skin,:a randomized controlled split face study. J Dermatolog Treat. 2014 Jun 10:1-23. [Epub ahead of print]

Friedmann DP, Fabi SG, Goldman MP. Combination of intense pulsed light, Sculptra, and Ultherapy for treatment of the aging face. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2014 Jun;13(2):109-18.

Hassan KM, Benedetto AV. Facial skin rejuvenation: ablative laser resurfacing, chemical peels, or photodynamic therapy? Facts and controversies. Clin Dermatol. 2013 Nov-Dec;31(6):737-40.

Park JY, Jang YH, Kim YS, Sohn S, Kim YC. Ultrastructural changes in photorejuvenation induced by photodynamic therapy in a photoaged mouse model. Eur J Dermatol. 2013 Jul-Aug;23(4):471-7.


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