Treatment of Acne Vulgaris Using Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy in an African-AmericanPatient

July 2009 | Volume 8 | Issue 7 | Case Reports | 669 | Copyright © July 2009

Shaundre Terrell BS, Daniel Aires MD, Eric S. Schweiger MD

Background: Studies indicate photodynamic therapy is an effective treatment of infl ammatory acne lesions on patients with Fitzpatrick skin types 1–3. There is a lack of evidence in the literature regarding the use of photodynamic therapy to treat acne vulgaris in African American patients. This article reports the fi rst case of blue light photodynamic therapy to treat moderate infl ammatory facial acne on an African American patient with type 5 skin.
Observations: This article describes a 26-year-old African American woman with moderate infl ammatory facial acne vulgaris. On examination, she had over 15 infl ammatory papules on her face and post-infl ammatory hyperpigmentation. The patient had a history of treatment failure with the following therapies: topical benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics, topical retinoids and oral antibiotics. At presentation, the patient was using a combination topical benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin product in the morning and tazoratene gel in the evening without success. The patient was treated with 20% aminolevulinic acid/blue-light photodynamic therapy spaced monthly for a total of four treatments, a once-daily application of hydroquinone 4% cream and her existing topical regimen. The patient reported signifi cant improvement of infl ammatory acne lesions and post-infl ammatory hyperpigmentation following two treatments with photodynamic therapy and was virtually clear of all acne lesions after the third treatment.
Conclusion: Photodynamic therapy is an emerging remedy for patients with acne vulgaris resistant to standard treatment, particularly in patients with skin of color who are more sensitive to post-infl ammatory hyperpigmentation. In this African-American patient, 20% aminolevulinic acid/blue-light photodynamic therapy was effective in treating facial acne vulgaris.