At the Dermatology Laser Center & MediSpa, we offer phototherapy, meaning a very effective type of ultraviolet light therapy that can be used to treat a variety of common skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo.
Ultraviolet light therapy can also be used in less common skin conditions such as lichen planus, cutaneous lymphoma and to help relieve the symptoms of uncontrollable itching found in certain patients who may have chronic kidney or liver problems.
We offer two types of ultraviolet light therapy, either UVB or PUVA.
Most patients receive UVB (Ultraviolet B) light treatments. This therapy is particularly effective in moderate to severe psoriasis. With ultraviolet light therapy, patients can avoid the messiness, staining and inconvenience of topical preparations.
PUVA is a combination of the taking of a photosensitizing tablet or application of a topical form of psoralen + UVA (Ultraviolet A) light treatment. The first letter “P” in the word psoralen + the UVA together give the treatment name of PUVA.
Dr Snyder’s Approach and Treatment
During the initial examination and evaluation of your specific condition, Dr. Snyder will discuss with you the benefits, expectations and risks for ultraviolet light therapy and may prescribe a course of UVB or PUVA phototherapy treatments two or three times weekly until you have significant clearing of your condition. Your progress is monitored during interval office visit evaluations. Often there are maintenance treatments that are gradually tapered off with continued improvement. Many patients achieve a state of remission, maintaining the clearance of improved skin over extended periods of time, lasting many months or longer off the treatment. The duration of the remission varies with each patient.
The most common side effect of phototherapy is ultraviolet light induced sunburn. This may occur at any time during your treatment, and because certain drugs, when you are exposed to sunlight, may increase your chances of getting a sunburn, it is important to inform us of any medications you are taking and to use appropriate sunscreens that we recommend..
Premature aging, increased freckling and pigmentation of the skin, and skin cancers are potential risks with ultraviolet light therapy. Research and clinical studies have indicated that the risk of skin cancer is more evident with PUVA therapy. Patients who have a past history of skin cancers are usually excluded from these treatments to avoid this risk.
The use of PUVA could potentially increase your risk of developing cataracts, but wearing special UVA light protective eyewear on each of your treatment days, starting immediately upon taking the oral psoralen medication and continuing to wear your UVA light protective eyewear during and after your phototherapy treatment for 24 hours, virtually eliminates the risk of cataracts.
Call now to schedule a consultation at (410) 356-0000.