There are essentially there types of treatments in medical dermatology: topical, systemic and phototherapy. What is this treatment that has its own category?
It has been long known that sunlight effects the skin many ways. We all know about the harmful effects of ultraviolet light and its role in skin cancer development. But we also know that ultraviolet light can be beneficial for certain skin conditions, including psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, lymphoma of the skin and others. This is why ultraviolet light treatment alone or at times in combination with other medications has been used successfully in dermatology for decades. The treatment, however, evolved over time. Research revealed that there is a narrow segment of the ultraviolet spectrum (around 311 nm wavelength) that is primarily responsible for all these beneficial effects. Now we are using these special lamps called “narrow-band” to minimize burning, eliminate the need to take oral photosensitizer medications and shorten treatment times. For a few years now we also have a laser version of this light source, called excimer laser, to treat small but “recalcitrant” spots with much higher intensity.
The light treatment is painless, easy to do, lacks many of the side effects of pills or injectible medications, or even topical medications, mostly topical steroids. While not a “miracle treatment” and of course has its own potential side effects, it can be the preferred treatment option for many patients suffering from psoriasis, vitiligo, widespread eczema or other conditions. Probably the most important down side is that the treatments have to be done regularly (three or at least two times a week) in our office. We are trying to do our best by making it easy by very flexible scheduling. Insurance companies usually cover these treatments for the conditions listed above and some others and if not financial arrangements can be discussed with our office.
If you are suffering from psoriasis, widespread eczema, vitiligo and you would like to discuss narrow-band UV therapy or excimer laser therapy, call our office for a consultation.