Artificial light or natural sunlight can heal breakouts of psoriasis for some sufferers. Phototherapy is ultraviolet light therapy performed under medical supervision in a clinic, at a doctor's office, or in your home after being initiated by your health care provider.
UVB phototherapy is not new. It's been used successfully since the 1920s after it was introduced by the Mayo Clinic. A prescription is necessary for phototherapy treatment. The cost of home equipment may be covered by some insurance companies.
Two types of UVB treatment have been found to be useful. Narrow band UVB light bulbs puts out a smaller range of light. It clears up psoriasis more quickly than broad band UVB treatment. It also brings about longer periods of remission than broad band does.
UVB treatment exposes the skin to artificial UVB light on a regular basis, at regular times. It slows down affected skin cell growth when UVB hits the skin. The immune cells of the skin are too active in some skin diseases. UVB deactivates these cells.
It's most effective for people who have moderately bad psoriasis. This would be people with psoriasis that affects 20 percent or more of their skin. It is an especially important treatment option for those who have not gotten benefits from ointments applied to the skin.
Don't be dismayed if your skin gets worse before it gets better, this is not unusual. The UVB light can redden the skin and make it itch. It's important to stay consistent and continue the treatment for good results.
Some positive results can also be achieved via sunlight. Frequent short sessions work best. The skin should turn a bit pink.
Sun exposure at noon should last for five to 10 minutes. If that doesn't cause bad reactions on the skin, increase by 30 seconds at a time, always monitoring for skin reactions.
UVB treatments at home or at the doctor’s office will start with short exposures of a few minutes at a time. Treatments will work up to 20 - 30 minutes long, three times per week. Be patient, it can take weeks for results.
Before a treatment is performed, you may be asked to apply baby oil, mineral oil or Vaseline on affected areas.