Using Phototherapy to Treat Psoriasis
For many people, quality and enjoyment of life can be greatly increased and psoriasis can be significantly improved through phototherapy, the controlled application of ultraviolet light. The appearance, itchiness, and size of psoriasis plaques are reduced with phototherapy treatment, and for some, they may even clear up entirely. Although phototherapy does not cure the disease, the psoriasis can become far less troublesome and more manageable with the careful, professional application of phototherapy.
Ultraviolet light works to reduce plaque formation by slowing down hyper-stimulated, rapid growth of psoriasis skin cells. While UV is present in sunlight and sunlamps, the key to phototherapy for psoriasis is one particular band of the UV spectrum – UVB. The important differences between professional phototherapy, which is directed by prescription and utilizes only specific light wavelengths, and simply sitting in the sun are many and important.
Supervised phototherapy can concentrate treatment on the areas of the body that need therapy, reducing the unwanted effects of excess light exposure. In fact, sun exposure may actually make psoriasis symptoms worse, particularly if sunburn occurs. Your board-certified dermatologist has the experience and training to know how much, how long, and how frequently your phototherapy treatments should take place, and they will monitor the results with skill and sensitivity.
What Makes Phototherapy So Effective
Because protecting our skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure is basic to skin health, why is phototherapy under a professional’s care so effective for this condition?
Psoriasis is a disease process where the body’s own miraculous skin turnover gets out of whack. Epidermal cells that normally provide a healthy barrier and protect us from the outside world grow too quickly. Instead of epidermal turnover happening over the course of about a month – the time it takes normally for these cells to grow and come to the skin’s surface – psoriasis revs up the process so that turnover occurs in only a matter of days!
This epidermal thickening and growth appear as the plaques, inflammation, and silvery-white scale we associate with psoriasis, accompanied by discomfort and an appearance most people would rather avoid, to say the least. Regular, consistent application of phototherapy slows the growth of these overactive cells and reduces the appearance of psoriasis plaques, even eliminating them in some cases.
The narrow-band UVB phototherapy option offered here at Dermatology Consultants is selected for its clear advantages, including a smaller and more controlled range of UVB energy, which requires fewer treatments per week and produces faster, longer-lasting results.
Whatever the goals you have for your own appearance and sense of well-being, our mission at Dermatology Consultants is to bring those goals to life. If psoriasis has been a concern for you, we can help. Just contact us to get started.