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Psoriasis – Light Therapy

March 2, 2021


"Light therapy is first-line for moderate to severe psoriasis and can be used in combination with other medications, but it usually involves exposing the skin to small amounts of controlled or artificial light in certain wavelengths. Repeat treatments, a couple of times a week, are usually necessary to see improvement and there's sometimes home phototherapy in which a UV light can be delivered to your home so it's more convenient. Brief daily exposures to sunlight can also improve psoriasis. This is known as heliotherapy. Before beginning of sunlight treatment, it's best to talk to your dermatologist about the safest way to use natural light for your psoriasis. UVB broadband can be administered in controlled doses using artificial light to treat single or widespread patches of psoriasis that don't improve with other topical treatments. Side effects can include redness, itching, and dry skin, which can be alleviated by regular moisturization. UVB narrowband light can be more effective than UVB broadband treatment and has replaced it in many ways. It can be given two to three times a week until skin improves. And however, it may cause more severe and long lasting burns. Psoralen plus UVA treatment involves a light sensitizing medication known as psoralen before exposing to UVA light. UVA light penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB light does and psoralen might make the skin more responsive to UVA exposure. This is a more aggressive treatment which consistently improves the skin and is often used for more severe cases of psoriasis. Short-term side effects include burning, itching, headache, and nausea, and long-term side effects can include dry and wrinkled skin, freckles, sun sensitivity, and sometimes an increased risk of skin cancer. Excimer laser can be used too, in which a strong UVB light can target the affected skin."

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