Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder affecting the skin. It causes skin cells to multiply up to ten times faster than normal. Since the body can’t get rid of skin cells at that rate, the cells pile up.
There are five types of psoriasis, and the symptoms vary depending on the type the patient has. The most common type is called plaque psoriasis, as the skin cells form red plaques covered with silver scales. They can appear anywhere on the body, but are most likely to develop on the scalp, elbows, lower back and knees.
How is Psoriasis Treated?
There are many ways to treat psoriasis. Ointments, creams and oral medications can help some patients. Shampoos and ointments made with coal tar can also relieve symptoms and slow down the abnormal growth of skin cells. Since these treatments can cause side effects, they should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.
Light therapy can involve using ultraviolet light B, also called UVB.
What Does UVB Therapy Involve?
In UVB therapy, the patient exposes the affected skin to ultraviolet light. The treatments are given regularly under a doctor’s supervision. Maintaining a regular schedule for the treatments is vital to success.
There are two types of UVB therapy: broad-band and narrow-band. The former uses a larger range of ultraviolet light than the latter. Studies have shown that narrow-band UVB therapy is more effective than broad-band, for it works more quickly, requires fewer sessions and its results last longer.
How is UVB Therapy Administered?
UVB therapy may be given a few times a week for a month or longer. We may start by checking your sensitivity to UVB rays. If the whole body is being treated, you may stand in a phototherapy cabinet that has fluorescent light tubes all around. Smaller lamps are used to treat smaller areas, like hands or feet.
What About Sunlight?
The sun does produce UVA and UVB light, so it can be used to treat psoriasis, but with caution. The patient needs to be especially careful if they are taking a medication that increases their susceptibility to sunburn. The patient should also apply sunscreen to skin that isn’t being treated.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
With locations in Manhattan, Atlantic Highlands, Fresno and Hanford, Rao Dermatology proudly offers narrow-band ultraviolet B (UVB) therapy treatments to treat psoriasis.