What Does Phototherapy Treatment Do?

Phototherapy treatment uses various wavelengths of artificial ultraviolet (UV) light to trigger natural processes that reduce inflammation and prevent skin cells from growing too quickly. Regularly exposing the affected area(s) to this type of light can have many benefits for your skin. Other names for phototherapy include light therapy and heliotherapy.

The main types of phototherapy are:

  • Broadband UVB
  • Narrowband UVB
  • PUVA – A combination of UVA and psoralen (a plant-based medicine that makes your skin more sensitive to light)

Your Forefront dermatologist can explain the different types of phototherapy and which one is best for you.

How Long Does Phototherapy Take?

The length of your phototherapy treatment will depend on your skin type, the strength of the light, and other factors. The first treatment is usually very short – it could be just a few seconds, especially if you have lighter skin. Throughout the course of your treatment, each phototherapy session rarely lasts longer than a few minutes (regardless of your skin tone).

The number of sessions you need will depend on the type of phototherapy you use. For example:

  • Broadband UVB requires about 3-5 sessions each week
  • Narrowband UVB requires about 2-3 sessions each week
  • PUVA requires about 25 sessions over a 2-3 month period

In most cases, phototherapy treatment will continue until your skin is clear. Some patients also need occasional maintenance treatment. The key to success with phototherapy treatment is consistency. Be sure to contact your Forefront dermatologist if you miss more than two sessions.

How Does Phototherapy Treatment Work?

Phototherapy treatment for large areas of skin will likely take place in a unit that you stand in, while smaller areas of skin are usually treated with handheld units. You may feel a warm sensation on your skin during and after treatment, similar to a mild sunburn. Your Forefront dermatologist can recommend medication if you experience any additional discomfort.

What Conditions Does Phototherapy Treatment Resolve?

Our board-certified dermatologists use phototherapy to treat a variety of skin conditions, including:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Vitiligo
  • Itchy skin
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a rare form of skin cancer)

Outside the dermatologist’s office, phototherapy can also help treat mood disorders, sleep disorders, other types of cancer, and more.

Why Do Dermatologists Prescribe Phototherapy Treatment for Eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Dermatologists use phototherapy to treat many forms of eczema because of its ability to reduce itchiness and inflammation.

Phototherapy can be used for localized eczema (in one area, such as your hands or feet) or widespread eczema (all over your body). The most common type of phototherapy used to treat eczema is narrowband UVB.

Can We Use Phototherapy Treatment for Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that causes lesions or inflamed scaly patches on your skin. Dermatologists prescribe phototherapy for psoriasis because it can help suppress an overly active immune system and slow rapidly growing skin cells. Phototherapy often provides itch and inflammation relief for psoriasis patients as well.

To Experience the Benefits of Phototherapy Treatment, Schedule a Consultation Today

Our goal is to make it easy for you to find the expert dermatology care you need in your neighborhood, especially when frequent visits are required for optimal results. To learn more about phototherapy treatment, find a Forefront Dermatology office near you to schedule a consultation.

Tired of living with itchy, inflamed skin? Book a consultation with a skin specialist today.

Interested in Phototherapy Treatment? Request a consultation with a skin specialist today.

*Treatment options may vary at each location.
Please confirm your desired treatment is offered at your preferred location when scheduling.
*Age Restriction.
For patients scheduling who are under 18 years of age (19 in Alabama) please make sure you have permission from your parent or legal guardian to schedule this appointment.  Your parent or legal guardian must accompany you on your initial visit and on certain subsequent visits to provide appropriate informed consent.

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