The Right Light Can Be Your Key to Softer, Smoother Skin!

Skin damaged by excessive sun exposure could benefit from a different type of light therapy. According to new research conducted by the University of Michigan Health System, sun-damaged skin may be improved by treatment with a topical product that increases the skin’s sensitivity to light, followed by laser therapy.

In this study, researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, used photodynamic therapy to treat 25 people, aged 54 to 83. The study participants all had sun-damaged skin on their forearms.

Researchers rated each patient’s degree of skin damage and took tissue samples from their forearms. They next applied a solution containing 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (5-ALA) to the damaged skin and left it on for three hours.

After cleaning the patient’s skin, the researchers treated these areas with a pulsed-dye laser. Patients received a follow-up exam four to five times over the following six months.

The results? The treatment produced a five-fold increase in Ki67 protein, believed to play an important role in the growth and development of new skin cells! And levels of the important skin proteins procollagen I and procollagen III increased significantly after treatment.

What’s more, some patients experienced a 1.4-fold increase in the thickness of the outer layer of skin!

“This is new scientific evidence that photodynamic therapy may in fact be a useful tool to improve the appearance of the skin. This type of therapy has been performed in clinical practice for the past few years, but we’ve never had detailed molecular evidence for why it may work,” said Dr. Jeffrey S. Orringer, M.D., lead study author and associate professor of dermatology at the U-M Health System and director of U-M’s Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Center.

The study appears in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology.