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.