Reasons for Procedure
- Psoriasis —a skin disorder that causes red, silvery, scaly patches on the skin
- Atopic dermatitis —eczema (itchy, red skin condition) or dermatitis due to allergies
- Mycosis fugoides (cutaneous T-cell lymphoma)—a type of lymphoma confined to the skin
- Vitiligo —a skin disorder where normal skin pigment is lost due to destruction of pigment-producing cells by the immune system
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- Skin conditions could temporarily worsen
- Itchy skin
- Red skin due to exposure to the lights
- Burning of the skin
- Nausea (if you took the psoralen pills)
- Burning skin
- Cataracts (lens of eye becomes cloudy, affecting vision)
- Premature aging of the skin, such as wrinkling and dryness
- Age spots or freckles may appear
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Sunscreen to protect your neck, lips, and the backs of your hands.
- Special glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from UV light.
- Cover for genitals in men.
- Sunscreen for nipples and areola in women.
Description of the Procedure
- Broad band UVB—Uses UV light, type B. It cannot be used in areas where there are skin folds.
- Narrow band UVB (nbUVB)—Uses a narrower range of UVB wavelengths. It can reach more specific areas, even skin folds.
- PUVA—This treatment includes a medicine called psoralen taken before treatment. It makes your skin more sensitive to the UV light. Psoralen can be taken as a pill or applied to the skin.
- Lasers—An excimer laser emits a UV light. It can be directed at specific areas of the skin.
How Long Will It Take?
- Broad band therapy requires approximately 3-5 treatments each week.
- Narrow band therapy requires fewer treatments (2-3 treatments) each week.
- PUVA treatments generally require about 25 treatments over a 2-3 month period.
- Laser treatments are usually given twice a week and fewer sessions are required to clear the skin.
Will It Hurt?
- Clothing and sunscreen should be used when outdoors. They will help you avoid overexposure to UV light.
- There is an even bigger risk of sunburn after PUVA treatment. This is due to increased sensitivity from the psoralen.
- It is important to protect your eyes from sunlight exposure for the next 24 hours. This will help you to avoid cataracts , a clouding of the eye, after PUVA treatment.
- Antihistamines and other medicine may be given to ease the itching.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness around the skin lesions or any discharge
- Severe skin burning, pain, or blistering
- Side effects you experienced due to the treatment continue or worsen
- Development of new or surprising symptoms
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org/
National Psoriasis Foundation http://www.psoriasis.org/
Eczema Canada http://www.eczemacanada.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php
Gambichler T, Breuckmann F, Boms S, Altmeyer P, Kreuter A. Narrowband UVB phototherapy in skin conditions beyond psoriasis. J Am Acad Dermatol . 2005;52(4):660-670. Review.
Muekusch G, Pitman J, Smiljanic D. Photoresponsive diseases. Dermatol Nurs . 2007;19(1):43-47.
Phototherapy. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic%5Fdiseases/phototherapy%5Fuvb.html . Accessed December 7, 2012.
Phototherapy. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/public/News/NewsReleases/Psoriasis%5FCurrent+Treatments.htm . Accessed August 23, 2005.
Phototherapy: lasers. National Psoriasis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.psoriasis.org/treatment/psoriasis/phototherapy/lasers.php . Accessed August 23, 2005.
Phototherapy: PUVA. National Psoriasis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.psoriasis.org/treatment/psoriasis/phototherapy/puva.php . Accessed August 23, 2005.
Phototherapy: Tips for your protection and comfort. National Psoriasis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.psoriasis.org/treatment/psoriasis/phototherapy/tips.php . Accessed August 23, 2005.
Phototherapy: UVB phototherapy. National Psoriasis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.psoriasis.org/treatment/psoriasis/phototherapy/uvb.php . Accessed August 23, 2005.
Psoriasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated October 26, 2012. Accessed December 7, 2012.
UVA Photo(chemo)therapy. Derm Net AZ website. Available at: http://www.dermnetnz.org/doctors/phototherapy/uva.html . Accessed December 7, 2012.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -