Why Phototherapy Is an Excellent Treatment for Eczema

Why Phototherapy Is an Excellent Treatment for Eczema

Living with eczema can be an ongoing challenge, but effective treatment methods such as phototherapy (or light therapy) can alleviate people’s symptoms and improve their lives. Some patients experience extreme eczema flare-ups where the use of ointments or creams fails to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. During acute phases like this, phototherapy may be used.

Phototherapy has proven to be a safe alternative to traditional prescription creams and injections that can be done either with or without a dermatologist’s referral. It involves a series of in-office treatments that are completed by exposing the skin to narrowband UVB light. Phototherapy treatments are administered by licensed registered nurses.

What Is Eczema?

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes skin irritation, oozing blisters and itchy rashes. It can also result in leathery skin patches that appear over time. Some doctors refer to it as dermatitis. Eczema may disappear for some time, only to pop up again; it can be acute or long-lasting, or it might just flare up after touching something or in specific weather conditions.

The word “eczema” is derived from Greek meaning “to boil over,” which aptly describes the red, inflamed, itchy patches that occur during flare-ups.

The Benefits of Phototherapy

Phototherapy refers to the use of ultraviolet (UV) light to treat moderate to severe eczema in children and adults in cases where topical therapies alone have not been effective. Phototherapy is an excellent treatment option that is usually only available at a specialist clinic or hospital.

The key to success with light therapy is consistency. Effective phototherapy treatment for eczema requires multiple sessions. Some patients can clear eczema completely with phototherapy alone. Others require combination therapy with medication. Phototherapy can be used safely with both biologics and topicals.

Phototherapy can help to:

  • Relieve itching
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Decrease redness

When ultraviolet light hits the skin, it inactivates the overactive immune cells in the skin that contribute to eczema. Research suggests that UV light may also disrupt the erroneous signals between immune cells and skin cells that lead to eczema. With relatively few side effects, phototherapy is a safe, effective, and drug-free treatment for eczema.

About 70% of people with eczema get better with phototherapy. Some people find that phototherapy puts their inflammation in a “quiet” state long past the end of the treatment.

What Patients Are Saying

“The professional, friendly staff has been great to work with. They are so accommodating to my schedule, and very flexible in fitting my treatment times into my busy schedule. It’s been a terrific partnership. I am so pleased with the results.”

Matthew, Los Angeles

“After years of suffering from psoriasis, constant trips to the dermatologist and many expensive creams, my psoriasis cleared, only to return with a vengeance later. Array’s cutting edge phototherapy treatment has made all the difference. It has provided relief that years of medication did not. I am so glad I made the call.”

Sherri, San Clemente

Types of Phototherapy

Phototherapy is usually administered on an outpatient basis two to three times a week. There are two main types of phototherapy: narrowband UVB and PUVA.

Narrowband UVB

With this type of treatment, patients are exposed to a narrowband (308nm or 311-313nm) of UVB (NB-UVB) light. Treatment starts at only a few seconds at first, and exposure time is gradually increased to several minutes per treatment. At Array Skin Therapy, our advanced equipment delivers only NB-UVB light, identified as the optimal wavelengths for treating autoimmune skin conditions. One could spend an hour in the sun and still not receive the therapeutic rays that in-office phototherapy delivers in one quick treatment.

PUVA (Psoralen plus UVA)

This type of light treatment can be used to treat a select number of skin conditions; however, it is more toxic and associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. When possible, narrowband UVB is preferred as it does not have these same risks.

Convenience and Ease of Treatment Are Key

Phototherapy treatment for eczema requires multiple sessions (usually around three to five minutes each). The best results are attained through in-office treatments delivered by licensed nurses using the most advanced FDA-approved equipment.

Therefore, iIt is essential to find a phototherapy clinic that can adapt to the busy lives and hectic schedules of its patients. Therefore, Array Skin Therapy has developed every aspect of our practice to allow for a convenient and highly supportive experience for patients. We offer extended appointment hours with free parking throughout Southern California to make it easy to access treatments. Through phototherapy, Array Skin Therapy has improved the quality of life of thousands of people.

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