What is Gold Photothermal Therapy (Gold PTT)?
If you have been reading my recent blogposts, or even visited my clinic, you would likely have heard of Gold PTT, as it is one of my most recommended treatments for recurrent acne. However, Gold PTT is more than just an acne treatment, it can effectively help restore young and supple skin when coupled with the right laser treatments. At The Clifford Clinic, we are the first clinic in Singapore to combine Gold PTT with VBeam Prima Laser treatment for a well-rounded, no downtime treatment to rejuvenate the skin. I will now explain how all these are achieved below.
How does Gold PTT work?
Before understanding how Gold PTT works to rejuvenate the skin, it is important to briefly understand how it treats acne.
A typical Gold PTT treatment starts after the patient has cleansed the treatment area. An ampoule containing gold nanoparticles is applied to the skin. These nanoparticles are then delivered into the pores using sonophoresis from Bellasonic, a method of ultrasound drug delivery designed by South Korea. Excess nanoparticles not delivered into the pores are wiped off the skin gently.
Following that, laser treatment will then commence. In addition to their usual effects, the laser also excites the gold nanoparticles, heating them up. This heat is transferred to the surrounding dermis, which triggers several processes in the dermis, in addition to lysing acne-causing sebaceous glands. After the treatment, the gold nanoparticles will not harm the body at all, and will simply shed away naturally with dead dermal tissue.
Why should I try Gold PTT when there are already so many other types laser treatments?
Now that we understand the mechanisms behind Gold PTT, we can now see how gold nanoparticles make such a huge difference in laser treatments.
In general, how Gold PTT complements laser treatments can be summarised in 2 words: “Penetration” and “Localisation”.
In most other laser treatments, the laser directly interacts with the skin surface. No matter how good the laser is at penetrating the epidermis (the topmost layer of the skin), it would have lost some energy when it actually reaches the dermis, which is not ideal. Most skin ailments, including acne and skin aging originate from the dermis, and any photo energy dissipated while penetrating the epidermis is essentially wasted and would not contribute to the treatment process whatsoever.
However, Gold PTT manages to overcome these problems. The secret, of course, lies in the gold nanoparticles. This may seem like an insignificant addition, but the nanoparticles actually make a huge difference. In Gold PTT, photo energy from the lasers interact with the gold nanoparticles, heating them up. This heat is then delivered to the surrounding tissue. This process can be visualised with a simple analogy: Metallic objects (such as car bonnets) in the sun often feel much hotter to the touch as compared to the surrounding air. The gold nanoparticles in this case, act as focal points for the laser, concentrating the laser energy at specific points before delivering them to the surrounding dermis. This allows the laser energy to efficiently penetrate the epidermis without losing too much energy, and deliver treatment to specific, localised points in the dermis, greatly increasing the effectiveness of the laser treatment.
In addition to the primary process of treating acne, the photo energy delivered by the lasers, together with the thermal energy from the gold nanoparticles stimulates the dermis, triggering a multitude of healing processes. In fact, this healing process is sufficiently beneficial to the skin that even those without acne can opt for Gold PTT to complement their laser treatments. Although many different lasers can be used here, Vbeam Prima by far, gives the best effects in my experience.
Altogether, the combined treatment has the following effects:
- Firstly, the same mechanism which allows Gold PTT to effectively tackle acne is also effective in reducing pore size.
- Secondly, Vbeam Prima stimulates and upregulates collagen production, reducing wrinkles and fine lines, also tightening the skin.
All these processes together create an overall anti-aging effect, making you look young and rejuvenated
For many cases when the treatment targets are in the dermis, Gold PTT can effectively complement many laser treatments as it helps the laser energy to penetrate the epidermis, allowing for efficient and precise delivery of laser energy. Even though Gold PTT is limited in treatments targeting the epidermis, it more than makes up for it by significantly improving laser treatments targeting the dermis. For those who are looking to undergo laser treatment to curb signs of aging such as wrinkles, sagging skin and enlarged pores, and at the same time add some glow to your skin, I would definitely recommend undergoing Gold PTT and Vbeam Prima Laser treatment together.