Have You Considered Light Treatment?
Last updated: March 2023
There are several ways to manage and treat psoriasis, and that number is quite large. It can be a long journey to find the best treatment that suits you. It's different for everyone, of course.
One treatment option to consider is light therapy. This has proven effective for many different patients. I was on this treatment 25 years ago.
How light treatment works for psoriasis
The primary aim of psoriasis treatment is to slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. Light therapy uses ultraviolet radiation to reduce the growth of skin cells in our bodies.
There are different types of light therapy further that depend upon the type of light exposed. Ultraviolet B can be delivered as broadband UVB or narrowband UVB.
Another form of light therapy is PUVA in which ultraviolet A. This is a light taken with a psoralen drug that is given before you take the treatment. It increases the effectiveness of the treatment. Those little green pills were so harsh on me. I was sick before every treatment back in the day.
Ultraviolet A is a light that can penetrate deeper into the skin compared to ultraviolet B, covering the surface of skin cells. This deeper penetration of PUVA seems to make a more effective treatment. Although PUVA is a promising treatment that results in 75% improvement, it has a greater risk of developing skin cancer.
How frequently should light therapy be used for psoriasis management?
Another challenge in light therapy is the number of treatments. It's not just a one-and-done. In my experience, I had a mandatory 3 treatments a week. To be effective, I could not miss any treatments. This type of commitment can take a toll on you, especially if you have a job.
It would be best if you had time to get to the appointment, undress, take the treatment, get dressed, and go back to work. Maintaining consistency is very important but can be a challenging task.
Typically, light therapy does not have any side effects for most people. The most common side effect is a sunburn reaction. This reaction mainly occurs in people taking medication that causes sun sensitivity.
If you plan to get this light therapy, you should first let your doctor know the medication you are using. You can have other side effects like drying the skin, nausea, and vomiting.
A few things to consider before choosing light therapy
There are several factors that need to be considered before going choosing light therapy as a treatment option. Factors that must be considered include the type of skin you have, any past medical condition, and any medications you may be currently taking.
Before going for light therapy, discuss all these factors with your doctor to know if it’s the proper treatment. Think through your decision and advocate what’s best for you.
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