Do you know about ultraviolet light for psoriasis? How will it help with your psoriasis? Well, if you do not know the answers to those questions, we are here to help. By the end of this article, you will know everything that you need to know about ultraviolet (UV) therapy for people with psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
Before you can understand UV treatment or other topics regarding this kind of treatment for psoriasis, you need to understand about psoriasis itself. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease that led to red and scaly patches to appear on the surface of your skin. These skin lesions typically appear on certain parts of your body, such as the outside part of the elbows, scalp, and knees.
Although psoriasis has a tendency to grow in certain parts of your body, the red patches in psoriasis can appear on any part of the body. It can appear on the face, usually around the eyebrows, between the nose and the upper lips, and around the hairline. These lesions can also appear on the spaces between the fingers and even on the genitals.
The patches that are found in psoriasis are raised, red, scaly, and will feel itchy. Some people with psoriasis also experience other symptoms such as a burning or stinging feeling on their psoriasis patches. These lesions can be similar to those in eczema. However, the itching in eczema is usually worse.
What Causes Psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis is not known entirely. However, it is known that the immune system is strongly related to its clinical manifestations. Psoriasis comes as flares that usually happen when the immune system is triggered by something. This led to the abnormal and rapid growth of skin cells on the surface of the skin, leading to a buildup of the lesions. That is why the best thing for psoriasis is to treat it with medicine that is meant to suppress the immune system.
How is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
There is no specific test that can be done in order to diagnose psoriasis. If you suddenly develop a rash that will not go away with over-the-counter medicine, then you should probably contact a dermatologist to be evaluated. That way, your health service provider can help determine whether you have psoriasis or not.
In order to diagnose psoriasis, your doctor will usually examine the rash that can be found in your skin. They will also check other parts of your body to see if there are hidden rashes, for example, the area on your scalp since psoriasis has a tendency to grow there. That way, your doctor can immediately give you medicine for scalp psoriasis if there is any indication.
Other than simple examination, your doctor can take a piece of your rash to be later examined under the microscope, a process called a biopsy. From this microscopic examination, your doctor will be able to determine if the findings are consistent with those in psoriasis.
Since genetics also play a role in the development of psoriasis, your doctor will also ask if you have a family history of rashes that will not go away with over-the-counter ointments. If there is a member of your family who experiences the same thing, then you have an increased risk of having psoriasis.
What is the Treatment for Psoriasis?
The next thing that we are going to talk about is how to treat psoriasis. There are several treatments that can be done in order to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis. These treatments are topical treatment with ointments, vitamin D, salicylic acid, and topical retinoids. One additional treatment that is recommended for people with moderate to severe psoriasis is UV A and UV B light therapy. And that is exactly what we are going to discuss in the next section.
Ultraviolet Treatment for Psoriasis
UV treatment or phototherapy is a treatment that can help with the symptoms of psoriasis. It works by reducing the inflammation that happens on the skin of people with psoriasis. This reduction in inflammation will eventually slow the abnormal production of skin cells down. Therefore, the scaly patches of psoriasis will also disappear.
Ultraviolet therapy for the skin is known to be quite effective when it comes to treating moderate to severe psoriasis. It is an additional treatment that people with psoriasis can get if regular treatments are not sufficient to help with the symptoms. Therefore, your doctor might recommend ultraviolet light for psoriasis if it is indicated.
UV therapy is known to be effective for several other conditions other than psoriasis. That is why UV therapy might also bring great results for people suffering from eczema. This treatment can also be used for people with vitiligo and several other skin conditions.
Ultraviolet Therapy Procedure
UV therapy is usually done in several sessions. Before these sessions begin, your healthcare provider will cover the areas of your eyes and genitals in order to protect them from the light. The light will then be applied to affected areas on your skin. If your psoriasis affects a large area of your skin, the UV light can be applied to the whole body.
There are several types of UV light that can be used in these therapy sessions. A narrow band UV B light can be used as well as a UV A light. People with psoriasis usually have to undergo three to five sessions per week for 2 to 3 months.
Once you have undergone the therapy, your doctor will evaluate the improvements of your skin rashes in the course of the treatment. Usually, there will be an improvement of symptoms after 2-4 weeks of phototherapy.
Psoriasis is a disease where red scaly patches appear on the surface of one’s skin. In order to relieve the symptoms, several treatments need to be done. One of the most effective treatments for psoriasis is UV therapy or phototherapy. Now that we have explained what ultraviolet light for psoriasis is, hopefully, you have a better understanding of this therapy.