Is The Light Treatment for Me?

Last updated: October 2018

I remembered this being the first treatment I ever started in 1963 for my psoriasis. My doctors had a light that sat on a table and I had to put each body part in it separately. This procedure would take forever to complete; times sure have change.

I wanted to write about these treatments because I have talked to so many people over the years who are on traditional treatments that aren't working for their condition; if this is you perhaps it's time to look towards an alternative treatment. This spotlight is on light therapy, how it works, and if it can change about your situation.

What is light therapy and what are the different types of light therapy?

Although light therapy might sound strange at first, it is a common alternative treatment for psoriasis. Even when compared to the traditional approach of using medicines like creams or topical treatments, light therapy is widely regarded and used for its effectiveness.

Understanding light therapy is not as simple as it sounds because there are a few different types of light therapy to be considered. Luckily I've put together a list of some of the treatment options that I used in the past, which is probably all of them.

  • Sunlight - Ultraviolet rays in sunlight or artificial light because it causes a reaction where the activated T cells in the skin die. This slows skin cell turnover and reduces scaling and inflammation. Your psoriasis should improve daily, small exposures to sunlight.
  • UVB Phototherapy - Another method for light therapy, is using UVB light from an artificial light source. Cases of psoriasis that are mild to moderate might experience some relief. This treatment is now more commonly used for its effectiveness and fewer side effects.
  • Narrow Band UVB Therapy - Some doctors combine UVB treatment and coal tar treatment, which is known as Goeckerman treatment.
  • Photochemotherapy or psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) - This type of light treatment requires the patient to ingest a medication that is light sensitive before each treatment session. It does has its side effects, like the risk of skin cancer, burning and nausea.
  • Balneophototherapy - "Another kind of light therapy is known as balneophototherapy. People bathe in warm water containing specific substances for about 20 minutes. Their skin is exposed to artificial UV light while bathing, or immediately afterwards. The bath often contains a solution made out of common salt or Dead Sea salt.1"

Some considerations

There are some precautions to consider when deciding whether or not light therapy is the appropriate treatment option for your situation. This is a less messy way to take treatments, but remember that using the light treatment can induce skin cancer and melanoma.

If you're considering using light therapy, then consider not only which type of light to used, but it is also important to consider how many sessions will be required to achieve the desired results. Taking into account this information will help you determine if light therapy is a worthwhile treatment option for your type of psoriasis.

I was doing the light treatment for three times a week. It’s very time consuming and will take a lot of time for planning. I had to wear these special glasses to cover my eyes. I also had to have my face covered if there was no psoriasis on it when I was taking a treatment.

The treatment also may not be an option for all people. There are people who need to avoid sunlight exposure. Before receiving any type of light therapy, you should tell your doctor about any drugs you are taking.

In case you're interested in trying the traditional approach, speak to your doctor or a health professional. There are several organizations out there that can give you information. Always consult a doctor or your healthcare provider before starting a new treatment.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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