Is UVB light therapy the right treatment for your skin issue? Before you choose one option over another, take a look at the top light therapy questions answered.
What Does UVB Mean?
UVB, or ultraviolet B, is part of natural sunlight. The suns rays include different types of UV radiation. Each type is categorized by its wavelength. UVA rays have the longest wavelength and UVC have the shortest. UVB rays have a middle or medium wavelength. Instead of natural sunlight, therapeutic use of UVB rays uses artificial light. This allows the medical provider to control the time of treatment.
What Can UVB Light Treat?
This type of treatment is used to combat some types of common skin conditions — most notably, psoriasis and eczema. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than seven million American adults have psoriasis. This irritating issue can affect almost any area of the body and has a scaly appearance. Psoriasis and eczema are often confused with one another. While eczema can also cause noticeable plaques, the area is typically red, flaky, or cracked.
How Does Phototherapy Treat Skin Conditions?
A trained, licensed medical provider will administer this type of phototherapy. Again, exposure to UVB light for treatment purposes requires a timed type of therapy. Unlike natural sunlight exposure (which can happen over hours), UVB treatment is focused on a specific part of the body for a set time. The artificial UVB rays stop overactive skin cells. This helps to reduce the symptoms and severity of psoriasis and some types of eczema.
How Often Will You Need Light Therapy?
The specific schedule depends on your skincare needs. It's likely you'll start light therapy for a few minutes at a time — two to three times a week. The medical provider may gradually increase the time. This will help you to achieve the best results possible in a controlled way.
Discuss your overall therapy needs with the medical provider before you start UVB treatment. You may need several weeks or months of treatments to see noticeable effects. Some people need weekly maintenance to prevent repeat flare-ups.
Are There Any Sides Effects?
Like any other medical treatment, light therapy may have side effects. But these are typically limited to mild sunburn. If you burn easily in the sun, you may see pink or reddish skin sooner than someone who can tolerate the rays. You may also notice tan skin or white and brown spots after treatment.