UVB phototherapy refers to irradiation that has shortwave ultraviolet radiation. In order to receive full-body treatment, patient, undressed, has to stand in a specially designed cabinet equipped with fluorescent light tubes.
Initially, only broadband UVB were used, but now, narrowband UVB phototherapy (311 nm) became popular on the market. Doses of UVB are increased each session. Usually, there are 3 sessions per week that last until skin condition has cleared up, the number of the pre-determined maximum number of treatments was reached, or if this treatment method was ineffective.
The effects of UVB are similar to the effects obtained from regular sun exposure. Any excessive exposure contributes to quicker skin ageing and also places one at risk of developing cancer.
UVB phototherapy is used to treat various skin conditions, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and vitiligo.
Psoriasis is a very common disorder which is usually inherited and varies in terms of extent and severity. UVB is usually recommended for patients who have extensive psoriasis. However, it may not be a suitable treatment option for individuals who have fair skin or those whose psoriasis gets worse when exposed to sunlight.
Most patients have three treatment sessions each week. The first few exposures are very brief: they last a few seconds. The length of exposure gradually increases according to the patient’s response.
Usually, about 24 treatment sessions are needed for psoriasis to clear out or greatly improve. At this stage, treatments are usually stopped. The skin then remains clear for several months. However, psoriasis may later reoccur, and; therefore, additional UVB phototherapy sessions will be needed.
UVB is also used for treating severe cases of dermatitis, especially eczema. Frequency and dosage of each treatment sessions are determined according to patient’s response. A course of phototherapy may last longer than 24 sessions.
UVB is considered to be effective for treating vitiligo. Treatments must be held with extreme caution because white skin tends to burn very easily. The treatment sessions may take several months until improvement will become visible.
All scheduled appointments should be kept and regularly attended in order to see improvements. All health problems, including eye disease(s), should be reported to medical staff prior to starting treatment. All active medications also have to be reported because some may cause skin burning as its adverse effects. No ointments and cosmetics (e.g. perfumes and coal tar products) should be applied. Natural sun exposure during treatment and non-treatment days should be avoided. It is recommended to constantly apply broad-spectrum sunscreen on face and hands.
Centre for Medical and Surgical Dermatology offers a unique and personalized UVB phototherapy treatment option for each patient. For more information about this treatment, visit the following link:
For more information about psoriasis, visit the following link:
For more information about atopic dermatitis, visit the following link:
For more information about eczema, visit the following link:
For more information about vitiligo, visit the following link:
Phototherapy is a type of treatment option that is used in dermatology to treat a variety of conditions that are responsive to a special kind of light, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, lichen planus, and others. The skin is exposed to the ultraviolet light of varying intensities, wavelengths, and durations to produce an optimal treatment effect.
The mechanism of action is related to the fact that ultraviolet (UV) light helps to block the dysregulated immune mechanisms that are present in the skin of people with skin disease. The response of the skin is unique in each individual and can range from temporary improvement to permanent remission of symptoms.
There are different types of phototherapy that can be used to treat the skin conditions that are mentioned. The three main types of phototherapy can be split in the broad categories:
The most common type of the Phototherapy. Narrow band UV therapy has been shown to be the most effective phototherapy option for many skin conditions, especially psoriasis and eczema. The benefit of NB UVB is that it has very specific wavelength, which is more therapeutic in comparison to other types of phototherapy. Up to 70 % of patients have improvement after such therapy.
This is sometimes referred to as photochemotherapy because the UV therapy requires asensitizer which is applied to the skin or ingested in order to achieve its therapeutic effects. This form of therapy is reserved for people who do not respond to UVB treatment and now is in limited usage due to its side effects. At our clinic, we mostly use[AB2] of the narrowband (NB) UVB 311 nm, which comes in a full body and compact modes to deliver the light therapy. The unique features of the treatment provided in our clinic is that all phototherapy systems equipped with the real-time dosimetry that allows to calculate precisely ultraviolet energy making the treatment very effective and safe.
This therapy is administered with a phototherapy device and exposes the skin to the full UVB light spectrum. This is not the most ideal since most skin conditions respond to a specific wavelength of the ultraviolet light.
Ultraviolet treatment is usually given at a clinic or hospital as part of an outpatients’ treatment or in the Office. The device can either be a fluorescent cabinet containing lightbulbs that one stands in. Alternatively, there are compact devices which only target a small area of the skin. The treatment duration and schedule is determined by your dermatologist, depending on your skin type. Initially, when starting narrow band UVB treatment, patient will only be exposed to the light for less than a minute in order to give the skin time to get used to the treatment. Treatments can be given 2 to 3 times a week and a total course typically lasts between 15 to 30 treatments and depends on clinical response.
The amount of skin exposed to the light is primarily dependent on the extent of the disease and the involvement of the skin. Most patients will have their whole body exposed to the light, with the exception of the eyes which are covered with special googles and private areas[AB4] . Historically, it is recommended not to undergo more than 250 treatments in a lifetime in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer which is mostly associated with the PUVA therapy.
If you are interested in learning more about narrow band UVB phototherapy, contact us and we will discuss, if it is appropriate treatment option for your skin condition during the appointment. Please, be advised that we accept new patients only by referral.