UV Light to Treat Problem Skin


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The use of UV therapy has been practiced since the early 1900’s. Clinicians within hospitals now use UV light therapy to treat skin conditions such as Psoriasis. UVB treatment alone is a good treatment for extensive psoriasis where smaller plaques (thicken areas of skin) are present. UVB light treatment is also termed narrow band UVB treatment and is used to treat chronic ordinary urticaria (COU) or chronic hives (long term itchy red allergy rash). Where larger psoriasis plaques are present treatment first requires the application of topical skin creams such as Psoralen and then this area of skin is exposed to UVA light. This combination of drug treatment in conjunction with UVA light is called PUVA therapy.

In 2008 clinical studies compared the different methods of light (or phototherapy) using UVB light to treat Psoriasis vulgaris (painful red, scaly sore areas of skin). The results suggested that optimum treatment consisted of first sloughed the areas of skin to be treated and then using phototherapy treatment together with dermal corticosteroids. Improvements in this Psoriasis vulgaris were also seen after using vitamin D3 derivatives applied directly onto the skin.

UVA light therapy is also an effective treatment for atopic eczema (itchy, thickened red, scaly areas of skin), localized scleroderma (an autoimmune disease that results with hard thickened areas of itchy skin) and granuloma annulare (bumpy rash that is circular). During clinical trials in 2012, 10 sessions of phototherapy were used to treat scleroderma, this improved the depth, softness and overall region of lesions into the skin.

However, the use of broad-spectrum UVB therapy or PUVA to treat skin disease may also lead to skin cancer. It has been recommended that number of light therapy sessions be limited to reduce the risks of skin cancer developing as a long term side effect. The maximum number of sessions depends upon the type of therapy in use, for instance some clinical trials have suggested that the number of sessions of UVB or PUVA be limited to 250. If you have received over 150 sessions it is suggested that have physical exam to check for adverse effects.


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