Narrow band UVB light phototherapy is a treatment for psoriasis and many other skin problems. What is it and how does it work? Is it safe? Here, we will answer all the questions you have about the therapy.
What is Phototherapy?
Phototherapy is a type of treatment that can ease or heal photo-responsive skin problems, such as psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo. While the UV light in direct sunlight or tanning beds can cause sunburn and skin cancer, narrow band UVB light therapy uses a special kind of lamp. The lamp only emits a narrow band of UVB light which can be used to treat skin problems with minimum sunburn risks.
The patient is exposed to UVB light. The amount of light varies based on how severe your skin condition is and how dark or light your complexion is.
Benefits for Psoriasis
Doctors use ultraviolet light for psoriasis because it reduces itchiness and skin inflammation, increases the production of vitamin D, and slows down the growth of skin cells. UVB light therapy is considered the safest and most effective way to treat skin conditions. It carries low risks even for children and pregnant women.
Even though UVB light therapy is generally considered safe, side effects may still arise. Some people with certain health conditions such as lupus, xeroderma pigmentosum, or skin cancer risks should not try phototherapy. These people are extremely sensitive to sunlight and even UVB light therapy might be dangerous to them.
If you take certain medications that make you ultra-sensitive to light, including several types of antibiotics, this treatment might be dangerous for you as well.
What to Do
Before deciding whether or not you should undergo this treatment, there are several things you must consider. Here are some important points to take note.
- Ask your doctor
Your doctor will decide whether or not the therapy is suitable for you. You can also discuss the cost of the treatment with your doctor. Your doctor should also regularly check you for skin cancer risks.
- Be consistent
Phototherapy can be intensive, so expect three doctor’s visits per week. It will also take a while until the result is seen. The therapy is only effective if you are consistent with it.
- Moisturize your skin
Light therapy often causes dry skin. Therefore, it is important to moisturize your skin consistently, particularly before going into the narrow band UVB light therapy.