Phototherapy utilizes the beneficial effects of ultraviolet UV wavelengths to affect immunoregulatory functions. Dual-action mechanisms of UV phototherapy have been identified: apoptosis and immune suppression. Other wavelengths are also utilized for phototherapy, namely nm excimer light and nm flat-typed NB-UVB. Excimer light nm therapy effectively targets the affected skin without unduly exposing other areas and increases the levels of regulatory T cells.

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For some people, over-the-counter or prescription creams are enough to manage psoriasis. However, if your skin remains itchy, scaly, and red, you can try phototherapy. Phototherapy is a type of psoriasis treatment that may make the pain and itchiness of the condition go away. It often uses ultraviolet UV light, which reduces inflammation and slows down the creation of skin cells. Phototherapy is also used for other skin conditions, such as eczema. A variety of different types of UV light treatments exist.

Your doctor may recommend combining UV therapy with a prescription cream. It can be used to treat plaque or guttate psoriasis. NB-UVB lamps and light bulbs emit wavelengths of light between and nanometers nm , according to recent clinical guidelines on phototherapy. An emollient such as petroleum jelly may be applied before each session.

According to a study , people who had twice-weekly sessions saw their symptoms clear up in an average of 88 days. Those with sessions three times a week saw their symptoms clear up in an average of 58 days. A study showed that around 75 percent of people receiving NB-UVB treatments found it cleared their psoriasis or led to minimal symptoms. They used fewer prescription creams for their condition, too. NB-UVB treatments may prove more effective when combined with topical treatments, such as vitamin D analogues and corticosteroids.

The two treatments are similar. According to a small study , 90 percent of people had clear skin after having sessions three times a week and an average of One hundred percent of people had clear skin after having sessions five times a week and an average of 27 treatments. BB-UVB is most effective for plaque psoriasis, although it can also be used for guttate psoriasis. It can be prescribed as a monotherapy or alongside retinoid acitretin Soriatane.

In combination therapy, the skin clears up faster, and lower doses of UVB can be used. Targeted ultraviolet B UVB light therapy is applied to small areas of the body.

If you have psoriasis over less than 10 percent of your body known as localized psoriasis , this treatment might work for you. This approach exposes you to fewer UV rays overall, which will reduce side effects and health risks. It also results in faster clearing of the skin.

Adults with plaque psoriasis can combine excimer laser therapy with topical corticosteroids. This approach uses ultraviolet A UVA light with psoralen, a medication that increases your sensitivity to light.

Psoralen can be:. Oral PUVA comes with the highest risk of drug interactions and side effects such as nausea. Topical PUVA may be of particular benefit to adults with palmoplantar psoriasis or palmoplantar pustular psoriasis.

It can also be used for localized psoriasis. This works best from May to October when there are more UV rays coming from the sun. You need to cover your unaffected areas with sunscreen and slowly increase your time of exposure to the sun. Start with periods of only 5 to 20 minutes. This treatment might take longer to work than a UV lamp, and it also increases your risk of skin cancer. Be aware that tanning salons are no substitute for doctor-supervised light therapy. Moreover, the use of these machines carries a much higher risk of skin cancer than medically supervised treatments.

Climatotherapy is relocation, either temporary or permanent, to a place with a more suitable climate as well as natural resources that can be used for symptom relief. Although people practicing climatotherapy typically see improvements in their skin and mental health, some research shows that the positive effects tend to fade after a few months.

Goeckerman therapy combines coal tar with UVB light therapy. Recalcitrant disease is resistant to treatment. A study found that monthly PDL treatments were more effective than twice-weekly excimer laser treatments. Grenz ray therapy uses radiation. A typical treatment plan consists of weekly sessions for four or five times, a 6-month break, and then up to 6 more months of treatment. Research on it is limited. A small survey found that only around half of respondents deemed it useful.

Visible light therapy may use blue or red light. Small studies have shown promise, but more research is needed. A version of visible light therapy known as intense pulsed light IPL therapy has led to great results when used in the treatment of nail psoriasis.

In PDT, photosensitizing agents such as acids are applied to the skin. When activated by blue or red light, these photosensitizing agents can help destroy premalignant or malignant cells.

Research has shown that the risks, which include severe pain, typically outweigh the benefits. One literature review found that only 22 percent of people saw a noteworthy reduction in disease severity. For best results, you should undergo at least 20 phototherapy sessions, according to a study. The most appropriate therapy will also depend on which type of psoriasis is being treated. For instance:. This includes people with lupus, a history of skin cancer, or the skin condition xeroderma pigmentosum, which makes people very sensitive to sunlight.

In addition, certain medications — including some antibiotics — make you sensitive to light. Light sensitivity can affect this treatment. It increases your risk for certain types of skin cancer, so your doctor will watch for warning signs during and after treatment. The different forms of phototherapy, climatotherapy aside, also come with their own unique risks:. It can be used for mild, moderate, or severe disease. Many people who use phototherapy as a long-term treatment like the ease and lower cost of doing it at home.

You usually have a few rounds of in-office therapy first to make sure it works. You still need to see a dermatologist regularly to monitor your skin and get advice on using your home device. A Dutch study was the first randomized controlled trial to compare the treatments.

Study participants who used home treatments had a slightly higher chance of developing severe redness. Those who used in-office treatments had a slightly higher chance of blistering and burning. Medicaid and Medicare — as well as many private insurance policies —often cover in-office treatment.

At-home treatments are less likely to be covered by insurance. Bulbs will need to be replaced every 3 to 6 years. However, after the initial equipment has been purchased, at-home phototherapy has a lower per-treatment cost than in-office treatment. In addition to the lamp itself, this estimate also factored in the cost of a warranty, shipping, setting up the lamp, and technical support. By comparison, most biologic treatments cost tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Also, see how much your health insurance will cover and take care to budget accordingly for this effective but sometimes costly treatment. Make sure you discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor when deciding if the treatment is right for you. Having psoriasis and dealing with flare-ups at work can be stressful.

Here's how to remain professional and dress accordingly. Go inside Natasha's life, and watch how open and comfortable she is in her own skin in this documentary-style video. Find out which bloggers are sharing the most motivational and helpful information about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. There may be no cure for psoriasis, but many at-home treatments, such as turmeric and Epsom salt soaks, can help ease your milder symptoms.

Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph. Main types of phototherapy. Other types of phototherapy. Know the risks. Need an Instant Psoriasis Remedy? Turn to Your Pantry. Read this next. My Life with Psoriasis Go inside Natasha's life, and watch how open and comfortable she is in her own skin in this documentary-style video.

The Best Psoriasis Blogs of the Year Find out which bloggers are sharing the most motivational and helpful information about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.


Current Developments in Phototherapy for Psoriasis

Jump to navigation. Phototherapy or light therapy is a prescription treatment that is typically prescribed by a dermatologist. Treatments are done in a doctor's office or psoriasis clinic or at home with a phototherapy unit. The key to success with light therapy is consistency. UVB penetrates the skin and slows the growth of affected skin cells. Treatment involves exposing the skin to an artificial UVB light source for a set length of time on a regular schedule. This treatment is administered in a doctor's office or clinic or at home with a phototherapy unit.



Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that involves a rapid turnover of skin cells. People with psoriasis often find rough areas of painful irritation and silvery scales called plaques on various parts of their bodies. These include home remedies to calm the skin, topical and oral medications, and light therapy. Keep reading to learn more about red light therapy RLT for psoriasis, including how it works and if it might be right for you.


Phototherapy for Psoriasis: What You Need to Know

A series of critically challenging cases scenarios in moderate to severe psoriasis: a Delphi consensus approach. J Am Acad Dermatol ; 61 1 : S Lebwohl M. J Am Acad Dermatol ; S


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