Phototherapy

Phototherapy can be highly effective to treat inflammatory skin conditions, especially moderate and severe psoriasis and eczema as well as itching. It is indicated for presentations of these diseases that are too extensive to be treated with creams and ointments and would otherwise require oral medication.

One of the advantages of phototherapy is that it provides a treatment option for these conditions with no requirement for monitoring blood tests or concern about interaction with other medications.

What is phototherapy?

Ultraviolet light is made up of different wavelengths and there are three main types of phototherapy:

Broadband UVB: the skin condition is treated by the full UBV spectrum – and can be used for psoriasis and eczema.

Narrowband UVB: only a small part of the UVB spectrum is used and it is considered more effective for severe eczema, psoriasis and polymorphic light eruption.

PUVA: UVA radiation is combined with an oral or topical medication that increases the effect on the skin known as a psoralen. It is used to treat psoriasis and vitiligo and is usually recommended when UVB therapy has not worked.

Treatment is usually given two or three times weekly and a course of treatment typically lasts 20 to 30 treatments, although sometimes more are required.

Are there any risks to phototherapy treatment?

Ultraviolet light can increase the risk of skin cancer, particularly in fair-skinned individuals. The amount you receive during a phototherapy treatment is carefully calculated and documented in order to try to avoid increasing this risk significantly. It is possible to experience burning as a result of phototherapy but every effort will be made to avoid this.

More information about the possible side effects can be found in this leaflet from the British Association of Dermatologists.

What should I expect after phototherapy?

In many cases, the skin condition will clear by the end of the course of treatment. The effects of treatment can persist for many months but in some cases the skin condition may recur sooner than that. If you are not able to tolerate phototherapy or if it does not prove effective Dr Williams can offer other treatment options.

Call 01483 555 907 to arrange a consultation with Dr Williams.