DERMAdoctor Photodynamic Therapy – topical Red Light Therapy?


Thanks to a comment from Aimee for highlighting a new product available from DERMAdoctor that looks both innovative and potentially beneficial for rosacea sufferers.

The makers claim that DERMAdoctor Photodynamic Therapy enables users to “experience continuous exposure to anti-aging red light through the mere application of a lotion” and call it a “ground-breaking, patent-pending solar powered technology in lotion form captures UV light transforming it into visible red light, a proven energy source for eliciting anti-aging effects on the skin”.

Would it be too cynical to discount these sorts of claims out of hand? The story sounds compelling, something that one might even wonder why it hasn’t been created before.

This so called `solar powered lotion form of red light therapy’ works by acting as a selective sunscreen. Morinda Citrifolia, also known as Indian Mulberry, is the listed as the base active ingredient that allows red light around 648nm wavelength to pass through the applied lotion.

From: DERMAdoctor PDT Page

How Does It Work?

Morinda Citrifolia Extract (Noni Fruit) contains a special polyphenol that specifically captures the sun’s rays then converts and emits this energy as a highly focused visible red wavelength of light (648nm) equivalent to that of a red LED.  Encapsulating this polyphenol with an inert tricalcium phosphate particle creates a complex capable of transmitting the visible red light to the skin where it works to firm the skin.

Certainly a novel concept, to filter out the harmful parts of the sun and allow through a particular wavelength that is thought to be beneficial for rosacea skin.

It would be helpful know to if this product also contains ingredients that are considered likely to irritate to rosacea sufferers. The few ingredients that are listed do not include how this product achieves its SPF30.

Lets look at the ingredients that are listed.

Powerful Antioxidants
Pomegranate, Ubiquinone, Vitamin E, Cucumber and Green & White Tea Extracts work to fight against free radical environmental damage to the skin.

We do know that Green Tea helps with the efficacy of Red Light Therapy.

Vitamin D
Photodynamic Therapy contains the sole non animal Vitamin D source available: sun exposed shitake mushrooms, to help boost levels of this vitamin so critical to overall well-being.

We can read in Myceliuim Running, How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World (By Paul Stamets, Ten Speed Press 2005), “Freshly picked indoor-grown shiitake mushrooms when dried indoors, had only 110 IU vitamin D, but when placed outdoors to dry in the sun produced an astonishing 21,400 IU of vitamin D per 100g”.

Benzylidene Dimethyoxydimethylindanone (C20H2003)
Sunscreen booster. This is said to enhance SPF proection by blocking the AhR receptor, shields DNA & provides cellular defense.

Questions I’d like Answered

How long do they expect 30ml to last – $85 is a lot for a tube of anything, let alone an amount as little as 30ml.

What ingredients are being used for the sun protection?

Is the product safe based on prolonged exposure to an extreme UV environment?

The suggested directions include instructions to apply daily, 15 minutes before exposure and reapply every 2 hours while outdoors, and to not seek additional sun exposure.

Game Enough to Try?

As this product has received high profile exposure on Dr. Oz we can probably expect that this product will become more visible to rosacea sufferers.

If you do decide to invest in this lotion, please do let us know how you get on.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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5 Reader Comments

  1. Rachel says:


    The active ingredients that make up the sun protection are: Avobenzone 3.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5.0%, Oxybenzone 6.0%

    All product ingredients in DERMAdoctor products are listed on the product page on our website under the ‘ingredients’ tab.

    If an individual was planning on being exposed to sun for a prolonged period of time, as with ANY sunscreen they would want to make sure to reapply Photodynamic Therapy every 2 hours. However, we are not advocating that people seek additional exposure to the sun; the product will work just as well when exposed to indoor lighting.

    In regard to the cost, $85 for a product that acts as your moisturizer, spf and light therapy is considerably lower than spending $20 on an spf, $50 on your moisturizer containing vitamin E, white and grean tea, vitamin D addition to a hand-held light therapy device which runs around $395.

    Only a small amount is needed as the product is very concentrated, so it should last several months.

    I hope that answers some of your questions!

    Rachel with DERMAdoctor

  2. Thanks for updating the ingredients Rachel – I missed the ingredients tab on the product page.

  3. Rachel says:

    It is easy to miss!

  4. john says:

    If this is true, This product will turn my face pale. I immediately go pale when under a red light. This sounds interesting but too good to be true. I will wait for someone to try this out first. It really would be something if it did work.

  5. Josh says:

    I’m sorry Rachel, but you are absolutely, 100% WRONG!

    ALL sunscreens (or products claiming an SPF rating) are tested in exactly the same way the world over. The amount of product used is 2mg per cm2. Based on that, an average size/height woman would need to use somewhere around 1.5ml for their face alone if they want to achieve the rated SPF.

    Given the product is 30ml is size, that means, if only used on the face, and used correctly, and only applied once daily (which is a mistake as reapplication is desirable), it would only last 20 days!

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