Phototherapy, commonly known as light therapy, can help to lessen the inflammation associated with certain skin conditions.
- Phototherapy for Eczema
- Phototherapy for Psoriasis with UVB
- Phototherapy for Vitiligo with Narrowband UVB
- PUVA Phototherapy
- UVA (UltraViolet A) Light
Phototherapy for Eczema
Phototherapy can help to lessen the inflammation associated with eczema, relieve itching and boost the body's bacteria-fighting capabilities. It can be administered in targeted locations that haven't responded to prior therapies or it can be used all over the body if necessary.
Phototherapy is performed in-office and entails exposing the eczema-affected skin to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Nearly 70% of patients who receive phototherapy see favorable effects, but it's important to remember that this treatment isn't suitable for everyone.
Phototherapy can help with the itching, swelling and tenderness of eczema while also having fewer adverse effects than other therapies.
Although phototherapy often causes the skin to heal, it does not cure eczema permanently. A doctor will determine whether phototherapy is appropriate.
Phototherapy for Psoriasis with UVB
Psoriasis is treated with UVB phototherapy. UVA, UVB and UVC rays are all emitted by natural sunshine and they come in a variety of wavelengths. UVB rays have been shown to enter the skin and delay the formation of new skin cells, reducing psoriasis lesions' redness and flakiness.
Although UVB rays can be received from sunshine, using a customized lamp that can manage the length and intensity of UVB ray exposure is safer and more effective. The afflicted areas of skin are exposed to the UVB light source on a regular basis for a set amount of time. The duration of exposure is determined by the individual's skin response and should be just long enough to cause a mild redness.
Maintenance therapy with less frequent treatments may be necessary.
Following UVB phototherapy, psoriasis symptoms may intensify for a brief time, although these reactions tend to fade with further treatments.
UVB phototherapy can be used in conjunction with other psoriasis treatments.
Phototherapy for Vitiligo with Narrowband UVB
Narrowband (NB) UVB, which covers more than 20% of the body, is now considered the gold standard of treatment of vitiligo and has been found to trigger pigment cells in making melanocytes. Because any type of light therapy suppresses the immune system, it may also prevent the formation of new regions. NB can be performed in a doctor's office using a full-body cabinet or in some cases, at home using doctor-prescribed equipment.
Although NB is sometimes used in conjunction with other topical therapies, it is also beneficial on its own for many people. Children who are old enough to stand still and wear goggles can utilize NB. Treatments are typically given three times a week and results are usually observed between 30 and 60 treatments.
If applying for an extended period of time, NB can cause burning. The unaffected skin may tan when using a full-body panel or box, which will increase the contrast. Because handheld units only treat small areas, only full-sized body units provide the immune suppression needed for stability and possibly halting additional pigment loss. It is safe to expose the eyelid to NB-UVB light as long as the patient is old enough to comprehend that they must keep their eyes closed at all times and has an annual eye exam, according to studies.
UVB Narrow-Band Comparison
Narrow Band Ultraviolet B Light for treatment of vitiligo is a relatively new technology. Narrow Band UVB light panels and cabinets address the issue of ultraviolet overexposure by optimizing the supply of narrowband UVB radiation while reducing exposure to unnecessary UV radiation.
This means that patients can undergo phototherapy treatments with a lower risk of severe burns or hazardous UV exposure. (UVB treatment also avoids the adverse side effects of the psoralens used in traditional PUVA therapy because it does not require any additional medicines.) Narrow Band UVB systems have become increasingly popular with vitiligo sufferers and their doctors as a result of these advantages.
For smaller regions with stable vitiligo, laser therapy can be highly beneficial. It is inefficient for more significant areas or percentages because it only treats a tiny area. Laser treatments often produce faster results than other types of therapy. Because laser treatments are costly, they are generally reserved for patients with stable vitiligo. When vitiligo is active, there is a higher risk of pigment loss.
PUVA is a type of phototherapy that combines a psoralen drug with UVA light (ultraviolet rays) to treat psoriasis. PUVA is made from the words "psoralen" and "UVA."
Psoriasis treatment with PUVA is well-known and successful. It slows down excessive skin cell proliferation and, after several sessions, can help to clear psoriasis lesions for a long time.
For best results, many treatments are required. When used correctly, PUVA clears psoriasis in over 85% of instances and leads to long periods of remission. Maintenance treatments may be needed 1-2 times per month.
People with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis and psoriasis of the palms and soles of the feet benefit most from PUVA. Psoriasis with erythrodermic psoriasis responds to PUVA as well, but not as effective as the other types.
Other psoriasis therapies may be used in conjunction with PUVA. Rotating treatments may be recommended to limit total UVA ray exposure and lower the risk of long-term negative effects. After 12 to 24 months, PUVA can be substituted with Soriatane®, cyclosporine or biologics.
Depending on a variety of conditions, your doctor may advise you to take topical or oral psoralen. Because it gives a more significant concentration of psoralen on the lesion, topical PUVA is frequently recommended for persons with resistant patches of psoriasis. Some folks can't stand the nausea and itching that oral psoralen causes. Topical PUVA, on the other hand, increases the risk of skin burning during treatment. Topical psoralen may not be suited for those with limited abilities because it is more labor-intensive.
Psoralen makes the skin sensitive to sunburn and other detrimental effects of sunlight, so anyone undergoing PUVA therapy should stay out of the sun as much as possible.
In addition, after PUVA therapy, UVA-blocking glasses must be worn during daytime hours for 24 hours. Because UVA rays can permeate glass, these particular sunglasses must be worn indoors and in the car. (Despite the fact that many sunglasses claim to provide UV protection, most do not provide adequate UVA protection.)
Long-term effects of PUVA may include rapid skin aging, an increased incidence of cataracts and skin cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) (BCC).
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as those with a history of skin cancer, liver disease or medical problems that necessitate sun avoidance, such as lupus, porphyria or skin cancer, should avoid PUVA.
Although PUVA is not commonly prescribed for children, it can be used if necessary to mitigate the negative effects of systemic drugs like cyclosporine or methotrexate.
UVA (UltraViolet A) Light
UVA is delivered by a unit that contains ultraviolet lights. The majority of UVA units are large enough to allow standing within the box, exposing the majority of the body to UVA rays. A large light unit is referred to as a "lightbox." For treating specific areas of the body, such as the hands and feet, smaller UVA units are available.
The recommended UVA ray exposure for patients who are just commencing PUVA therapy is relatively short, ranging from 30 seconds to several minutes. The exposure period is gradually increased until it reaches 20 minutes or more.
UVA-blocking goggles must be worn during treatment because oral psoralen might sensitize the eyes as well as the skin.