What is Phototherapy?
Phototherapy is a treatment used to treat skin diseases by exposing the affected skin to ultraviolet light. The treatment can be done at a doctor’s clinic or at home with a phototherapy unit. However, phototherapy must be done under strict medical supervision. Another important thing to make the treatment work is that you remain consistent with your sessions. If you miss the sessions, the treatment will be of less help to you.
Phototherapy for Psoriasis
Phototherapy is used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. It is the most viable option for you when other medical or biologic treatments do not work for you or you cannot take those treatments due to other medical reasons.
The patient is exposed to UVA or UVB light in a phototherapy unit for a definite period of time. The light penetrates the skin and attacks the affected cells to reduce the abnormal cell growth. It also controls the hyperactive immune system. Phototherapy also help relieve the patient of the discomfort and pain by reducing the inflammation, redness and itch and healing the skin.
The UVA light treatment is combined with psoralen, which can be used either topically or orally. Such a combination treatment is called PUVA. Psoralen is a light sensitizing medication which is essential to use with UVA. Unless you use psoralen, UVA light treatment will not be effective for you.
However, UVB light has a relatively shorter wavelength and it reaches only on the upper layers of the skin and does not require any such light sensitizing medications.
You can also have phototherapy by exposing yourself to sunlight. Sunlight has both UVA and UVB lights. You can start off with 10-15 minutes, depending on the tolerance of your skin and increase the time gradually. You shall have to expose yourself to sunlight multiple times a day for effective results. You must also take care that all affected parts are equally exposed to sunlight. And that the unaffected parts are protected with sun screen.
Effectiveness of Phototherapy
Phototherapy has been very effective in treating psoriasis, but it takes time. The patient has to be patient to see the results. It may so happen that initially your psoriasis will worsen before the treatment actually starts showing its healing power. You shall see the results after going through 20 or more sessions. At home phototherapy treatments can take as many as upto 40 sessions for showing the results. So, patience and consistency is the key.
Cautions to be Taken
Although phototherapy is an effective and safe procedure, requisite caution must be taken while undergoing it. The doctor must continuously monitor the amount and duration of light exposure. Overexposure must be avoided else it may lead to other problems such as pigmentation or dark spots.
Phototherapy is not recommended for people who have had melanoma or have a compromised immune system or other photosensitivity issues. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding must also avoid phototherapy.
Phototherapy has certain side effects such as sunburn like reactions, stinging or burning or formation of dark spots. In rare cases, it can also lead to blisters and burns. You must inform your doctor at once if you experience any such side effects. There is also a rare possibility of skin cancer. So, you must get your skin diagnosed regularly to be sure.
However, we provide you the treatments that will keep you free from the side effects. We have the latest equipments and most advanced technologies to treat our patients. Also, with our experience and expertise, we make an in-depth and accurate diagnosis and recommend you the treatment that is most suitable for you. We have a discussion with you regarding your treatment options and suggest only the best. We stand by you all through the way and keep a close check so that any risks are eliminated. With us, you can expect yourself to be treated with the best results. So, book an appointment soon!