Light Therapy For Eczema And Psoriasis
Eczema and psoriasis are some of the most common skin conditions, with over 30 million Americans suffering from eczema and 8 million with some form of psoriasis.
In this article, well explain the emerging research around light therapy as a potential treatment for psoriasis, eczema, and other common skin conditions.
Why Should I Buy A
You can tell if you need or want a uvb light therapy for psoriasis by looking at your existing inventory. You probably dont need it and should reconsider buying it. If you cant get go of the old one, you could sell it and use the proceeds to buy the new one.This is a fun and easy approach to finish your task.
Lets face it, we all want to feel good about our purchases. But there are so many! How can you know which is best? You need not be concerned because Aids Quilt has your back. Our trained staff is here to help you find what works for you. Before making a final decision, you can take advantage of our free consultations. Let us show you how easy shopping for home audio equipment can be when you have an expert on your side!
How Much Will It Cost
The cost of a phototherapy kit will vary depending on the type. A doctor can help a person determine which device will be most effective for them. Phototherapy products vary in size from small, handheld devices to full-body surround cabinets.
Medicare insurance may cover the cost if the device is medically necessary. This will usually fall under Medicare Part B since it counts as durable medical equipment.
Dont Miss: Can A Dermatologist Help With Psoriasis
Don’t Miss: Witch Hazel For Scalp Psoriasis
Dont Settle For Treatment Go For The Cure
Think about this: the best treatments medical science has come up with for psoriasis are light based. UVB, in particular, is what you get from sunlight. How much time to do you spend in direct sunlight every day? Ill bed you could count it in seconds. Your relationship to the sun, or lack thereof, is reflected in the level of Vitamin D in your blood.
Red & infrared light may be another excellent treatment for psoriasis, but other science is finding that psoriasis is likely a visible symptom of Vitamin D deficiency, and correcting that deficiency may well be the cure.
If you are suffering from psoriasis, I urge you to consider the research in this area and speak to your doctor about having your vitamin D level tested. Please follow this link for more information on our home site.
What Are The Types Of Light Therapy For Psoriasis
The NPF reports that there are several different types of light therapy, each with their own specific pros and cons. Types of phototherapy include:
Most dermatologists warn against using tanning beds or sun lamps to try to treat the condition on your own and the NPF does not support the use of indoor tanning beds as a substitute for phototherapy performed with a prescription and under the supervision of a physician. Only medical professionals should provide and advertise light therapy for the treatment of psoriasis. One reason why is because commercially available tanning beds and sunlamps emit more UVA light than UVB, which may be more likely to burn the skin, speed aging and elevate risk for cancer. UVA light is also less effective than UVB, unless its being used in combination with a compound called psoralen as part of a PUVA treatment. Using psoralen in combination with a tanning bed is not recommended, as it may result in severe sunburn, the NPF reports.
You May Like: Tide For Eczema And Psoriasis
How Much Does Xtrac Laser Therapy Cost
Most medical insurance companies cover XTRAC laser therapy if its considered medically necessary.
Aetna, for example, approves XTRAC laser treatment for people who havent responded adequately to three months or more of topical skin cream treatments. Aetna considers up to three courses of XTRAC laser treatment per year with 13 sessions per course may be medically necessary.
You may need to apply for prior approval from your insurance company. The National Psoriasis Foundation can help with appealing claims if youve been denied coverage. The foundation also offers help in finding financial assistance.
Treatment costs can vary, so you should check with your doctor on the per-treatment cost.
You may find that the XTRAC laser treatment is more expensive than the more common UVB treatment with a light box. Still, the higher cost may be offset by a shorter treatment time and longer remission period.
How Is Uvb Phototherapy Administered
There is no nationally agreed way to give a course of UVB phototherapy and different centres may use slightly different treatment plans. However, it is usually given three times a week for 6-8 weeks or until the psoriasis has cleared to an acceptable amount.
Many centres will check the UV sensitivity of the persons skin prior to a course of UVB phototherapy by applying a range of 6-10 different doses of UVB to small areas of normally unexposed skin. The next day, some of these areas will have developed a redness , while others will be unaffected. The lowest dose to produce just perceptible redness is known as the minimal erythemal dose . This process checks for any unusual sensitivity to UVB and determines the UVB exposure dose for the first treatment. From this short exposure on the first visit, subsequent visits will feature increasing amounts of UVB. This allows the skin to become used to the UVB, in a similar way that one may gradually increase time in the sun on holiday to avoid immediate sunburn.
Recommended Reading: Ultraviolet Light Machine For Psoriasis
Does Light Therapy Increase The Risk Of Skin Cancer
Regular exposure to UV light increases the risk of skin cancer. There is some that PUVA therapy with psoralen tablets in particular increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. The higher the dose of radiation used and the more light therapy sessions you have, the greater the risk. The risk is also higher in people who have a fair complexion, people who have had skin cancer in the past, and people who are taking medication to suppress their immune system such as azathioprine, ciclosporin or methotrexate.
Narrow band UVB phototherapy is probably associated with a lower risk of skin cancer than PUVA therapy using psoralen tablets. But this isn’t yet known for sure because there are hardly any studies on the risk of skin cancer caused by UVB radiation. There is also a lack of good research on the risk of skin cancer associated with PUVA therapy using psoralen that is added to a bath or applied directly to the skin.
To limit the risk of skin cancer, people are advised not to have more than 150 sessions of PUVA therapy using psoralen tablets in their lifetime. A “UV diary” can help you keep track of the number of sessions and type of light therapy you have had, as well as the radiation dose used.
What Is Scalp Psoriasis
Psoriasis affects the scalp and forehead in more than two-thirds of psoriasis patients. This makes these areas by far the most frequently affected regions of the body by psoriasis regardless of age, gender, or stage of the disease.
Often the inflammation centers of psoriasis on the head reach beyond the hairline. Then the disease also leaves traces on the face. This is doubly uncomfortable for those affected, as these areas are difficult to conceal.
For example, a typical area where scalp psoriasis becomes visible is the forehead near the hairline. However, the temples and neck can also be affected. The foci are reddish in color, have a lot of scales, and often cause unpleasant itching.
In some cases, psoriasis on the head can also lead to temporary hair loss. Hair loss is not caused by scalp psoriasis it is brought on by treating the scalp harshly by acts of scratching the itchy scales too hard or picking off scales.
These symptoms make psoriasis on the scalp a condition that can seriously affect the wellbeing and self-confidence of those affected especially if the psoriasis is visible on the face. For this reason alone, patients should be treated early.
If scalp psoriasis is not treated timeously, the risk of psoriasis-related hair loss increases. In addition, scalp psoriasis is sometimes associated with psoriasis in or on the ear.
Recommended Reading: Best Treatment For Psoriasis On Legs
Read Also: Will Scalp Psoriasis Go Away
Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment And Its Mechanism
PDL is the preferred therapy for most superficial cutaneous vascular lesions. In recent years, it has been used in some clinical researches to treat non-vascular indications, such as psoriasis, acne vulgaris, papulopustular rosacea, hypertrophic scar, and so on . Erceg et al. have reviewed the efficacy of PDL for inflammatory skin disease and concluded that PDL is an effective and safe method to treat localized plaque psoriasis. In accordance with this, a prospective randomized controlled study was performed to compare the efficacy of PDL with UVB-TL01 in plaque psoriasis. PDL parameters used were 585 nm, a pulse duration of 0.45 ms, and a spot size of 7 mm with spot overlapping about 20% at fluencies 5.56.5 J/cm2 for a total of four treatments at an interval of 3 weeks between two treatments. Improvement of psoriasis lesions was noted at the 13th week, yet with no significant differences between PDL and UVB . A within-patient controlled prospective trial of treatment of localized plaque psoriasis with excimer and PDL showed that excimer and PDL were useful treatments for plaque psoriasis with long-term remission, but psoriasis severity index improvement was significantly greater in excimer than PDL . Studies of PDL in psoriasis also reported low clearance rate, which could be improved by applying keratolytics with salicylic acid on psoriatic plaques before PDL treatment .
What Are The Side Effects Of Uvb Treatment
The most common immediate side effect of UVB phototherapy is a mild sunburn reaction. This maybe more likely if the person being treated has been using other medications or herbal supplements which can cause sensitivity to light. It is, therefore, important, before starting any course of any treatment, to inform the healthcare professional or doctor of any products being taken. This sunburn reaction is usually not serious and the phototherapist will adjust the dose of the next treatment or postpone treatments until the redness has settled. Some people report itchiness in the early stages of treatment, but this should soon settle.
The long-term effects of phototherapy include increased ageing of the skin and an increased risk of certain skin cancers. In the 30+ years of the medical use of narrowband UVB phototherapy, increased skin cancer has not been reported. UVB causes very little photoageing. Nevertheless, if someone has had 500 or more UVB treatments it is recommended that the risks and benefits of further UVB are re-evaluated and their skin checked for signs of skin cancer.
You May Like: Does Psoriasis Get Better With Age
How Red Light Therapy Helps Psoriasis
- Red light stimulates the production of new capillaries, which increases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
- Red light stimulates the lymphatic system, which makes waste removal more efficient and results in healthier skin that is less prone to psoriasis flares.
- Psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders interfere with collagen production. Collagen is a protein that gives skin a firm, supple, and full appearance. Red light stimulates collagen production which can help soothe the skin and reduce flares.
- Most notably, red light stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate from the cells mitochondria. This is the cells energy source. A cell that has more energy has more capabilities to perform its normal functions, as well as regeneration and self-healing. Researchers found that ATP reduces inflammation that can lead to the main symptom of psoriasis: abnormally rapid replication of skin cells.
Psoriasis causes cells to replicate at 10x the normal rate, which outpaces the bodys ability to shed them this results in those unsightly red, scaly, painful and itchy areas.
Since light therapy helps to restore normal cell function, this means that the rate of growth will normalize and youll experience fewer and less intense flares.
All types of phototherapy require several treatments per week for several months , plus ongoing maintenance treatments.
If Its So Effective Why Isnt Phototherapy Used More
Although phototherapy is considered a first-line treatment for psoriasis, patients and dermatologists alike report that it is often impractical.
Convenience is a factor, since patients need to visit their doctors office several times a week during business hours. But it can also be expensive for each treatment, most insurance companies charge an office-visit co-pay, which tends to be higher than drug co-pays.
Also Check: Cream For Psoriasis And Eczema
Recommended Reading: Best Hair Shampoo For Psoriasis
What Are The Side Effects Of Puva
The phototherapist will carefully explain all of the possible side effects of phototherapy before a course begins. The most common immediate side effect of PUVA phototherapy is a mild sunburn reaction. This may be more likely if the individual has been using other medications or herbal supplements which can cause sensitivity to light, so it is important to tell the phototherapist of anything being taken. This sunburn reaction is usually not serious, and the phototherapist will adjust the dose of the next treatment or postpone treatments until the redness has settled. Some people report some itchiness in the early stages of treatment, but this should soon settle. People on tablet PUVA may feel a little sick after taking the tablets. This maybe only a mild inconvenience but if it is intolerable, an alternative tablet is available and may help. Taking the tablets will sensitise the eyes to UVA and exposure to the sun may increase the risk of cataract formation, so eyes must be protected from sunlight or other sources of UVA for 12 hours or until night-time. After taking the tablets, patients should wear sunglasses or other UV protective eyewear, or avoid exposure to sunlight altogether.
Targeted Ultraviolet B Light Therapy
Targeted ultraviolet B light therapy is applied to small areas of the body. It often involves the use of an excimer laser, excimer light, or NB-UVB light.
If you have psoriasis over less than 10 percent of your body , 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.
For best results, it should be performed two to three times a week.
Targeted UVB therapy can be used to treat:
- plaque psoriasis
- scalp psoriasis
- psoriasis on the soles or palms
Excimer lasers are more effective than excimer lights or targeted NB-UVB lights. Adults with plaque psoriasis can combine excimer laser therapy with topical corticosteroids.
Recommended Reading: How Psoriasis Affects Mental Health
Psoralen Plus Ultraviolet A Therapy
This approach uses ultraviolet A light with psoralen, a medication that increases your sensitivity to light. Psoralen can be:
- taken orally
- applied topically
In general, PUVA is highly effective but not widely used or available.
Oral PUVA comes with the highest risk of drug interactions and side effects . Its most effective when combined with an oral retinoid.
Bath PUVA works best for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Its performed more often in Europe than in the United States. This is primarily because it uses trimethylpsoralen, a form of psoralen that the Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved.
Topical PUVA may be of particular benefit to adults with palmoplantar psoriasis or palmoplantar pustular psoriasis. It can also be used for localized psoriasis.
Other types of phototherapy that either arent as effective, widely recommended, or widely used are described below.
How Well It Works
Phototherapy is usually an effective treatment for psoriasis.footnote 2 Partial to full skin clearing occurs after an average of 20 clinic treatments. More severe psoriasis may require more treatments. Using home equipment, which is less powerful than equipment at a clinic, takes 40 to 60 sessions to clear the skin.
Doses of UVB high enough to cause the skin to turn red, used with petroleum jelly or other moisturizers, can clear psoriasis plaque.
When using UVA alone, treatments may be helpful but take much longer to clear psoriasis. UVA is very effective when used with a photosensitizing drug . This combination treatment is called PUVA.
Read Also: Psoriasis Getting Worse With Age
Uvb For The Treatment Of Lichen Amyloidosis
An UpToDate review on Cutaneous manifestations of amyloidosis states that Few studies have directly compared interventions, leaving uncertainty about relative efficacy. An open left-right comparison study that compared the efficacy of moderate to potent topical corticosteroids with the efficacy of ultraviolet B or psoralen plus ultraviolet A phototherapy in 20 patients with a clinical diagnosis of lichen amyloidosis found a trend towards greater reductions in patient-reported itch and skin roughness with phototherapy, but the difference was not statistically significant Treatment of primary localized cutaneous amyloidosis is not mandatory. Treatment is performed to improve symptoms and/or cosmesis. No treatment is consistently effective for macular amyloidosis and lichen amyloidosis. We suggest interventions to minimize pruritus and scratching as initial treatment . Our initial treatment approach consists of local corticosteroid therapy to reduce pruritus. Other interventions that may be useful for patients who fail to improve with these conservative measures include phototherapy, laser, dermabrasion, and systemic medications.
How Often Is Phototherapy Needed
Phototherapy treatments are typically administered three times a week. In psoriasis, significant improvement may be seen within two weeks. Most people with psoriasis may need 15 to 20 treatments to achieve clearance and experience a remission rate of 38% after one year. For people with vitiligo, phototherapy treatment is more complex. The length of time you have had vitiligo, the body locations you want to treat and the activity of your vitiligo all influence the rate of repigmentation. Potential for response is greatest in those who have initiated treatment within 2 years of diagnosis, treat the face and neck, and who have stable, unchanged vitiligo without signs of activity. Those with signs of active vitiligo warrant more aggressive treatment often including full body phototherapy and oral steroids. Signs of activity include: Koebner phenomenon, trichrome appearance and confetti appearance.
Koebner Phenomenon is when minor trauma such as scratching triggers your condition in the location of insult.
Trichrome Appearance is where the sharp margin of pigmented and depigmented skin is blurred. One sees a gradation of three colors instead of two distinctly contrasting colors.
Confetti Appearance is when the vitiliginous skin looks like white confetti.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Vitamin To Take For Psoriasis