What is Phototherapy?
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:
Narrow band UVB (NB UVB) therapy
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.
Psoralen + UV A (PUVA) 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.
Broadband UV B therapy
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.