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Dermatol Surg. 2011 Jan;37(1):31-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2010.01726.x. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Topical 5-aminolevulinic acid with intense pulsed light versus intense pulsed light for photodamage in Chinese patients.

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Department of Dermatology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.



It has been suggested that the adjunctive use of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) with intense pulsed light (IPL), known as ALA-IPL photodynamic therapy (PDT), increases the benefits of IPL therapy for photoaging.


To evaluate the efficacy and safety of ALA-IPL PDT for photoaging in Chinese subjects with Fitzpatrick skin types III and IV.


This was a prospective, controlled, split-face study with 26 subjects. Subjects received three split-face treatments 4 weeks apart. A blinded investigator assessed the signs of photodamage. Satisfaction was also assessed.


Twenty-four subjects completed the trial. Better results were achieved for global score, fine lines, and coarse wrinkles on the PDT/IPL treated side than on the IPL-only side at the final visit (50% vs 12.5%p=.005 for global score, 70.8% vs 33.3%p=.009 for fine lines, 50% vs. 12.5%, p=.005 for coarse wrinkles). Phototoxic reactions such as erythema and edema were the primary side effects, as well as an increase in postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.


ALA-IPL PDT has superior rejuvenation effects over IPL alone in Chinese subjects. Taking reasonable precaution to prevent the postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is the most important point in making ALA-IPL PDT a successful therapy.

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