On The Saturday Early Show , Dr. Mallika Marshall of WBZ-TV took a look at the innovative technique called photodynamic light therapy.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the process more than two years ago for the removal of pre-cancerous lesions. Now, Dr. Marshall says, doctors have discovered it also has cosmetic uses.
Because of the many pre-cancerous lesions that covers Margaret Fusili, she is forced to make frequent trips to the doctor's office.
"For years, I've been having basal cells removed all over my body from years of exposure to the sun," said Fusili.
Fusili underwent photodynamic light therapy to get rid of the lesions. Doctors began by applying a special chemical solution, which is absorbed by skin. The patient is then placed under special blue lights.
"If you expose that skin to the blue light, it leads to a reaction which gets rid of the damaged cells which are replaced by newer skin," said Boston University Medical Center's Dr. Dany Touma.
In addition to removing precancerous cells, doctors found the procedure also has an added benefit. It reduces the signs of aging.
"In our study, we found that [skin] improved dramatically," said Dr. Touma. "There was significant improvement in fine wrinkling and hyper pigment sun spots and people felt like they looked younger."
Fusili likes the results and says she would recommend the procedure to others.
"I thought it would be a perk for me to have the basal cells removed permanently and have the lines diminished," she said.
The procedure costs about $750, which makes it less expensive than other procedures that remove cells damaged by the sun's harmful rays.
Doctors say not to use the procedure if you have had an allergic reaction to aminolevulinic acid or porphyrins, if you have porphyria, lupus or skin that is unusually sensitive to sun, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you take deferoxamine (an iron chelator), hydrochlorothiazide, or sulfa products.
Dr. Marshall says you should ask your dermatologist for more information on photodynamic light therapy.