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Light-Activated Therapy Seems to Rejuvenate Aging Skin
Date:10/20/2008

Photosensitive med plus pulsed laser boosted collagen, study says

MONDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Photodynamic therapy appears to cause molecular-level changes in aging skin that increase collagen production and improve skin appearance, a U.S. study finds.

In photodynamic therapy, a light-activated medication is exposed to a light source. Photodynamic therapy for aesthetic treatments typically involves application of a topical medication, such as 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA).

In this study, Dr. Jeffrey S. Orringer and colleagues at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, used photodynamic therapy to treat 25 people, aged 54 to 83, with sun-damaged skin on their forearms.

Prior to treatment, the patients' degree of skin damage was rated, and tissue samples were taken from their forearms. A solution containing 5-ALA was applied to the damaged skin and left on for three hours. The skin was then cleaned and treated with a pulsed-dye laser. The patients were re-examined four to five times over the following six months.

Tissue samples showed that treatment resulted in a fivefold increase in levels of a protein called Ki67, believed to play an important role in the growth and development of new skin cells. In addition, there was a 1.4-fold increase in the thickness of the skin's outer layer (epidermis) and higher levels of enzymes and other compounds associated with the production of collagen, the main structural protein in skin.

The findings were published in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

"Photodynamic therapy with the specific treatment regimen employed produces statistically significant quantitative cutaneous molecular changes [e.g., production of types I and III collagen] that are associated with improved appearance of the skin," the researchers wrote.

The findings suggest that use of a photosensitive compound such as 5-ALA in comb
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