Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by itchy patches of skin with white or silver scales. It can stay for a long time or even for life and symptoms can appear then go away. Once you have the disease, the first thing you think about maybe how to treat it. If so, you can consider phototherapy. This article will help you know more about this treatment.
How phototherapy treats your psoriasis?
Psoriasis is caused by a problem with your immune system. Psoriasis occurs when your skin cells that grow in your skin rise and pile up quickly on the surface.
Phototherapy is used to treat psoriasis. It uses UV light to slow down the growth of affected skin cells. Thus, phototherapy can clear the skin or improve the symptoms. UVB light therapy can be used alone but UVA light requires special chemicals.
You will be given the treatment in a booth. You may stand or lie down on a bed, depending on the design. The booth will record the amount of UV light you receive.
Your entire body will be exposed to the UV light. Thus, you will be asked to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. If you are a man, you will have to use a special equipment to prevent your genital from getting genital cancer.
During UVB phototherapy, you are exposed to the light until the targeted area turns pink. This exposure uses the wavelengths of light used to treat psoriasis. You may need several treatments a week. Then psoriasis will gradually clear up. The dermatologist may use UVB light alone, with tar products, or with anthralin.
During a combination therapy, the dermatologist uses two types of treatment: light and medicine. You will be asked to take the medicine before you are exposed to the light. You may apply the medicine to your skin, swallow it, or soak in water containing it. Common combination therapies include:
- Psoralen and UVA light therapy (PUVA): in this treatment, psoralen can be administered topically or orally to make your skin more sensitive the UVA light.
- Tar products, anthralin, and UVB light therapy
- Tar products and UVB light therapy
Why it is done?
PUVA is used when psoriasis causes disability and other treatments such as oral medications do not work.
UVB light is used alone to prevent the spread of plaque psoriasis and guttate psoriasis – two most common types of psoriasis.
Risks of phototherapy
Phototherapy has risks. They include:
- You can try milk, ginger ale, or ginger supplement to prevent nausea. However, ask your dermatologist if they can affect the treatment.
- Skin damage: you may experience itchiness, redness, age spots on your skin. In severe cases, you may develop skin cancer.
- Cataracts: cataract is a cloudy area in your eye lens, making it hard for you to see things clearly. You can prevent cataract by wearing sunglasses that block UVA light.
- Genital cancer: exposure to UV light can contribute to the risk for genital cancer in men.
Phototherapy is one of the most effective treatments for psoriasis. During the procedure, UV rays are used to terminate the excessive growth of new skin cells that cause raised patches on your skin. However, phototherapy has risks. Discuss with your dermatologist before you decide.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 12, 2017 | Last Modified: May 12, 2017
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