While dermatologists will typically instruct you to avoid direct exposure to UV light, phototherapy can be an effective treatment option for several conditions. This treatment involves directing controlled light to the affected area to help resolve symptoms. Patients in Oregon and Washington can learn more about phototherapy at Silver Falls Dermatology.
What is Phototherapy?
Phototherapy is a treatment for various dermatological conditions which uses specific types of light. Depending on the treated condition, phototherapy may be used to slow rapidly growing skin cells, suppress immune response, reduce inflammation or reduce itchiness. There are several types of phototherapy available, including broadband UVB, narrowband UVB or psoralen ultraviolet A (PUVA).
Candidates for Phototherapy
Many patients suffering from various skin disorders may benefit from phototherapy. The treatment can be used for conditions including:
- Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
- Pruritis (itchiness)
While beneficial for these skin conditions, patients with certain other conditions or illnesses should not pursue phototherapy. Examples include melanoma and other forms of skin cancer or conditions that cause UV sensitivity such as lupus. Patients who take medications that cause UV sensitivity, including certain antibiotics, antifungals or diuretics, should not receive phototherapy.
The Phototherapy Procedure
Phototherapy is a relatively simple procedure which does not cause pain or significant side effects. The treatment will vary depending on the type of phototherapy your provider recommends. Light may be administered to the treatment area via a light box, laser or handheld device. In some cases, you may be instructed to apply a topical medication or take a pill to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. Most phototherapy treatment sessions are completed in a provider’s office and can be completed in about 30 minutes or less. Typically, patients receive two to three sessions per week for the duration of their treatment.