What is light therapy?
At its simplest, light therapy—also called phototherapy—is the deliberate exposure of the skin to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays suppress the inflammation that comes from overactive immune cells in the skin, reducing the inflammation that comes with psoriasis, lichen planus, Grover’s disease, and other skin conditions.
Although spending time in the sunlight is the simplest way of exposing the skin to UV rays, it’s also the riskiest in terms of skin damage and cancer. Doctor-prescribed, doctor-administered light therapy is the safest way to use light therapy for skin treatment. At Davie Dermatology & The Med Spa, light therapy is part of our comprehensive medical skincare practice. We offer narrowband UVB treatment, which delivers only the UV components that promote healing, while minimizing the chance of burning or other damage.
Who are the best candidates for light therapy?
Light therapy is most effective in treating inflammatory skin conditions like plaque psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, lichen planus, and Grover’s disease. It is an especially good choice for patients for whom topical treatments are not effective, but who wish to avoid systemic medicines like long-term injections or oral medication. Our dermatologists do not usually recommend light therapy for patients with a history of skin cancer or lupus.
What are the benefits of light therapy?
The targeted, narrow spectrum of narrowband UVB therapy provides only the therapeutic value of the UV rays, without the dangerous rays that come with a broader UV spectrum. It is very effective, and it may have fewer side effects than topical or oral medication. It is a safe, non-surgical, non-invasive option for treating inflammatory skin conditions. At Davie Dermatology & The Med Spa, we offer easy outpatient treatment that can greatly improve the skin’s appearance and reduce symptoms of many skin disorders.
What are the downsides of light therapy?
Like most treatments for psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases, light therapy requires ongoing treatment. During a course of treatment, we see patients twice a week, after which the patient may be able to reduce the frequency to maintain remission. Treatment times depend on the patient’s response and may range from six weeks to three months. Even with narrowband UVB treatment, which carries the lowest risk of harmful UV rays, there is still some risk of burning after treatment, and a consequent low risk of developing skin cancer.
What is the process for undergoing light therapy?
Patients who would like to explore the possibility of light therapy to treat their skin conditions can be evaluated by one of the dermatologists or medical staff at Davie Dermatology & The Med Spa to assess whether or not this would be an appropriate treatment option.