Controlling Symptoms With Light Therapy
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, can help many patients with more severe types of psoriasis. Light therapy uses narrowband ultraviolet B light to help control psoriasis. UVB is a type of light found in natural sunlight.
When you have light therapy for psoriasis, UVB light penetrates your skin and helps slow the growth of your rapidly growing skin cells. Light therapy can also help:
- Suppress your immune system reaction
- Reduce the itch caused by psoriasis
- Promote healing of the affected skin
What Are The Possible Side Effects
UV light therapy can have various side effects. For instance, the radiation can dry out your skin and cause itching. So people are advised to thoroughly moisturize their skin with a lipid-replenishing skin care product immediately after the treatment. Light therapy also often causes sunburn-like skin reactions. In rare cases, blistering burns may occur.
In people who tend to get cold sores on their lips, light therapy might make cold sores more likely. Applying sunscreen to your lips before the treatment can help prevent cold sores. Taking psoralen for PUVA therapy can cause nausea and vomiting. These side effects don’t occur when psoralen is used as a bath solution.
Other, less common, side effects include raised red patches that go away again after a few days and hair follicle infections.
In order to limit side effects as much as possible, it’s important to avoid natural sunlight on the day of treatment, or protect yourself when outdoors by wearing appropriate clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen. It is particularly important to avoid further exposure to sunlight after PUVA therapy.
Another disadvantage of UV light therapy is that it involves a lot of doctors’ appointments and takes up a lot of time overall. So people who are busy, for instance with their work and family, might find it hard to stick to this treatment in everyday life.
What You Should Know Before Starting Laser Treatment
Laser treatment for psoriasis can produce dramatic results in some people — but this therapy isn’t for everyone. To make sure you’re a good candidate, have a complete health history and exam done before starting treatment.
Avoid laser treatments if you have:
- Lupus or scleroderma
- Xeroderma pigmentosum
- Risks for, or a history of, skin cancer
- A condition that requires you to take medications that make you sensitive to the sunÃ
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What Are Different Types Of Light Therapy
The main types of light therapy that are used to treat psoriasis include1:
- UVB phototherapy
- excimer laser therapy
Some phototherapy treatments are targeted, meaning that only the skin affected by psoriasis is exposed to ultraviolet light3. Targeted phototherapy is usually used for people who have symptoms on less than 3% of the body. Whole-body phototherapy treatments expose the entire body to the ultraviolet light, and are usually used to treat patients with more severe psoriasis that affects more than 5% of the body.
Phototherapy works by affecting the skin cells in the top layer of skin, and helping to reduce psoriasis plaques to form by damaging the skin cells that cause plaques to form.
Types Of Uv Light Treatment
UV light treatment comes in three forms with Narrow Band Ultraviolet B Light being the most common these days. NB-UVB systems try to produce a narrow band of light only in the ranges that are effective in treating psoriasis.
NB-UVB is also preferred because it causes side effects in fewer people, is easier to use, and has a wider range of uses in treating skin conditions.
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Recommendations For People Undergoing Uvb Or Puva Phototherapy
- Courses of phototherapy are much more effective if administered without interruption. So, attend every appointment and avoid arranging a holiday during a phototherapy programme.
- Please inform your phototherapist nurse if you have been started on any new medication, as some medicines make you more sensitive to UV light.
- Dry, itchy skin can be treated by creams such as aqueous cream or emollients these are available on prescription and over the counter. It is advisable not to use bubble baths as these can dry out the skin. Instead, add prescribed bath oils or emollient to the bath water and soak the body for 10-15 minutes.
- Women of childbearing age should not become pregnant while having PUVA, but previous use of PUVA does not affect subsequent pregnancies.
- Do not wear deodorants, perfume or aftershave during treatment. Some of them contain chemicals which sensitise the skin to UV light and may result in a sunburn reaction.
This article is adapted from the Psoriasis and phototherapy leaflet.
What Complementary And Alternative Treatments Help Psoriasis
Complementary and alternative therapies are sometimes used to improve symptoms of psoriasis.
Although most of these approaches are safe, you should talk to your doctor before trying any new treatment or technique.
Examples of complementary and alternative methods commonly used to treat psoriasis include:
Diet and Nutrition Some people report improved symptoms by altering their diets or taking certain supplements. You can also try avoiding specific dietary triggers that may increase inflammation and worsen your symptoms.11
Sunlight Exposure to small amounts of sunlight can reduce some symptoms of psoriasis. But too much sun can worsen outbreaks and increase your risk of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about how much sunlight exposure is safe for your situation.
Daily Baths Soaking in mineral water baths may help hydrate and soften the skin. You can add colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salts, or Dead Sea salts to bathwater to help calm inflamed skin. But stay away from hot water and harsh soaps, which can worsen your symptoms.
Moisturizer Some people report fewer symptoms when they apply moisturizer to affected areas. Ointments can help lock in moisture better than creams.
Yoga and Meditation These practices can clear your mind and reduce stress, which may ease symptoms of psoriasis.
Exercise Physical activity increases the production of chemicals known as endorphins, which improve mood and energy. Exercise can also help you sleep better and reduce anxiety.
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What Is The Uvb Light Therapy For Psoriasis
Sorry if youre perplexed. I know its not an easy choice! But its one of the most crucial choices youll ever make. If youre still unsure which type of uvb light therapy for psoriasis is best for you, I recommend comparing the characteristics and functionalities of the uvb light therapy for psoriasis listed above. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Psoriasis Drugs: Biologic Medication
Biologic drugs are protein-based medicines that are derived from living cells cultured in a laboratory.
These medicines are administered through an injection or IV and target parts of the immune system.
Biologics work by blocking the action of a specific type of immune cell and proteins in the immune system that play a major role in the development of psoriasis.
The following medicines are examples of biologics:
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Narrowband Ultraviolet B Light Therapy
Narrowband ultraviolet B is the most common form of phototherapy. It can be used to treat plaque or guttate psoriasis.
NB-UVB lamps and light bulbs emit wavelengths of light between 311 and 313 nanometers , according to recent clinical guidelines on phototherapy.
Your starting dose will depend on your skin type and how easily you burn or tan.
However, NB-UVB light therapy is most effective when performed two or three times a week. An emollient such as petroleum jelly may be applied before each session.
According to a 2002 , 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.
Once the skin is clear, maintenance sessions can be performed on a weekly basis.
A 2017study 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.
Deep Dive: What The Research Says
Researchers have given a tentative recommendation for LED-red light as an emerging treatment for psoriasis. Thats because results are promising, but more studies are needed.
A 2017 research review suggested that certain wavelengths of red light work against plaque psoriasis. People with plaque psoriasis were able to clear 60% to 100% of their skin with 2 red light sessions a week for 4 to 5 weeks.
One small 2011 study pitted RLT and blue light therapy against each other. Folks with psoriasis received high doses of light therapy three times a week for 4 weeks. They also applied 10-percent salicylic acid to their plaques during that time.
The conclusion? Both RLT and BLT improved scaly, thickened skin. But the blue light also relieved redness.
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What Is Light Therapy For Psoriasis
For millennia, people have been trying to find better ways to clear up psoriasis, and currently, there are a range of powerful drugs on the market that have proven helpful. But one relatively low-tech treatment thats actually been around for over 100 years may be just as effective as the fancy biologic drugs when used by the right patients. Light therapy uses controlled and directed beams of certain bandwidths of light to penetrate the plaques and reduce the inflammation, which helps the body clear the plaques.
People being treated for psoriasis with light therapy may recognize the equipment as being similar to that of a tanning booth. Dr. Joel M. Gelfand, professor of dermatology and epidemiology and director of the psoriasis and phototherapy treatment center at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, says in many cases, patients will go to their dermatologists office three times a week and step into a machine that encircles them with ultraviolet light bulbs.
When these bulbs are turned on for the right length of time, they can cause big improvements in symptoms. This is because light therapy for psoriasis down regulates the immunological response in the skin, Gelfand says. This means that it slows the proliferation of cells and the inflammatory response in the skin.
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How Does Sunlight Work To Treat Plaque Psoriasis
Natural sunlight contains both UVA and UVB light. Many psoriasis patients are advised to have regular, brief periods of sun exposure to help improve symptoms on affected areas. This is usually recommended for people with mild or moderate psoriasis that is not made worse by sun exposure1.
During sunlight exposure, areas of the body that are not affected by psoriasis can be protected with sunscreen or clothing. Healthcare providers will provide advice about how long to spend in the sunlight and how often, and check the patient regularly for sun damage to the skin. It can take up to a few weeks or more to see improvements from sun exposure.
Before starting treatment with sun exposure, let your healthcare provider know if you are using any topical medicines, many of which can make your skin more sensitive to light and more likely to burn. People who are being treated with other types of phototherapy may be advised to avoid sun exposure when possible2.
It is very important to protect unaffected areas from getting too much sun exposure and becoming sunburned, which can make psoriasis symptoms worse. Sunburns also increase the risk of skin cancer and can make the skin age prematurely.
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Lab Studies Show Red Light Therapy Improves Eczema And Reduces Itchiness
Red light therapy has also been shown to be beneficial for eczema treatment in numerous laboratory studies, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments. Everything from sophisticated immunosuppressive drugs, to a simple warm water baths have been tested in combo with natural light treatments, with very encouraging results. A 2013 study examined the benefits of light therapy and an immunosuppressive drug. Researchers recorded many benefits for eczema treatment:
- Significantly reduced severity of skin lesions
- Reduced inflammation
- Restored skin barrier
In a similar study conducted by the same principal researcher, the effects of red light combined with a simple hot water bath were examined for eczema. Red light therapy plus a hot bath also reduced inflammation, reduced the development of skin lesions, and suppressed allergic reactions. A 2017 study used SCORAD, a clinical tool that assesses the severity of eczema. Researchers found that light therapy reduced skin thickness, allergy-related cells, and dead cells that had built up in the epidermis. More research on red light and eczema is needed, and trials are currently underway, but the existing base of research is very positive and shows how natural red light therapy can reduce itchiness and inflammation and improve skin lesions for people with eczema. Red light therapy has also been found to be helpful in treating many other skin conditions.
How Much Is Uvb Light Therapy For Psoriasis
uvb light therapy for psoriasis come in a variety of designs and pricing ranges. Its difficult to predict product costs nowadays. You dont know how much something costs because the pricing range is so vast. For example, a pair of pants can range from $20 to $200 depending on where you buy them. Similarly, additional goods like as uvb light therapy for psoriasis.
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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.
Tablets Capsules And Injections
If your psoriasis is severe or other treatments have not worked, you may be prescribed systemic treatments by a specialist. Systemic treatments work throughout the entire body.
These medications can be very effective in treating psoriasis, but they all have potentially serious side effects. All the systemic treatments for psoriasis have benefits and risks. Before starting treatment, talk to your doctor about your treatment options and any risks associated with them.
If you’re planning for a baby, become pregnant or are thinking of breastfeeding, you should also speak to your doctor first before taking any new medicine to check it’s suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
There are 2 main types of systemic treatment, called non-biological and biological .
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Users Manual & Treatment Method
A comprehensive Users Manual is a critically important part of the 500-Series Hand/Foot & Spot device. The SolRx Users Manuals have been continuously developed for over 25 years by Solarc employees that are also patients actually using SolRx devices, and vetted by a variety of dermatology experts. The information provided allows you to safely maximize your treatment results. Most importantly, it includes detailed exposure guidelines with treatment times for psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis . The Exposure Guideline Tables shown provide a complete treatment protocol based on your skin type , the power of the device, and the UV-waveband. The 500Series Users Manual is available in English, French, and Spanish. It is printed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper and bound in a 3-hole folder, so you can easily photocopy pages as needed.
The Users Manual also includes:
- Warnings about who should not use the device
- General warnings about UVB phototherapy and equipment safety
- Installation considerations, assembly and setup
- Exposure guidelines including skin type determination, positioning and other tips
- Usage guidelines & treatment procedure
- Psoriasis long term maintenance program
- Device maintenance, bulb replacement & troubleshooting
- Several years of Solarcs uniquely useful Phototherapy Calendar
Spot Treatment: The following pictures show some of the many possible Spot Treatment positions:
Side of lower leg & knees
Back with partial blockage using clothing
Side of leg
How Is Phototherapy Used To Treat Psoriasis
Both UVB and UVA can be used to treat psoriasis. UVB is used on its own, but UVA requires that the skin be sensitised by a plant-derived chemical called psoralen before it is effective. The treatment combining Psoralen and UVA is termed PUVA.
Both forms of phototherapy are given as a course of treatment over many weeks, where the time of exposure to the UV is gradually increased to prevent burning the skin and to allow the skin to acclimatise to the treatment. After a course of phototherapy the treatment is stopped in some cases improvements last for more than a year, while in other cases the psoriasis may start to recur after a few months or even weeks. Further courses of treatment may be given. It is not possible to predict how individuals will respond or how long their response will last after the phototherapy course ends. Psoriasis is the skin condition that responds best to phototherapy and in most phototherapy units 60-70% of the people attending are being treated for psoriasis.
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Eczema And Psoriasis Treatment Today Is Lacking
Eczema refers to a variety of skin-related conditions, while psoriasis is actually a different and complex autoimmune disease. But they are often grouped together because both cause inflamed, itchy skin thats difficult to treat. There are no cures for either eczema or psoriasis, so as with most chronic conditions, management of symptoms is central to treatment. Many people use ointments and creams, and/or prescription drugs and anti-allergy meds. These have limited effectiveness, and the medications often come with other unwanted risks and side effects.
Seeking an effective, natural alternative, researchers have conducted peer-reviewed studies on the benefits of red light therapy for people with eczema and psoriasis. The findings are preliminary but very positive, giving reasons for optimism and spurring further research.