Light treatment of psoriasis - Phototherapy

Light treatment of psoriasis

Light treatment of psoriasis – Phototherapy,
author: Dr. Mónika Gál, dermatologist – WEBPatient

In the treatment of psoriasis, the goal is to remove the scales, reduce the inflammatory process, and restore the maturation process of the epithelial cells in the psoriatic areas.

Among the many treatment methods – in the case of extensive psoriasis – one of the light treatment procedures is very often the first choice. The majority of patients respond well to various UV treatments (phototherapy).

UV-B psoriasis therapy

The most widespread is the use of UV-B rays with a wavelength of 311 nanometers, the “narrow-wave” (narow band) UV-B therapy. During this, the patient’s skin, standing in a cabin, is illuminated for a few minutes, during which he must wear protective glasses.

This UV-B treatment consists of 10-20 treatments, during which you stay in the cabin for only a few seconds at first, then gradually increasing the dose for 4-5 minutes. Narrow-wave UV-B treatment is combined with various local agents and ointments. This can be sulfur-containing cream, steroid-containing ointments, or anthralin (Dithranol) that removes scales.

UV-A psoriasis therapy

When local treatment with ointments, brushes, or UV-B treatment is not effective and psoriatic areas cover at least 20 percent of the body surface, then photochemotherapy is justified. In this process, UV-A rays are used, which, however, are not effective by themselves, so the use of a photosensitizer is necessary.

PUVA psoriasis therapy

This substance is psoralen, hence the acronym PUVA, where the “P” the psoralen. The photosensitizing compound is applied in the form of a cream that is brushed on the scalp and applied to the skin of the body, followed by UV-A irradiation, which, like UV-B, occurs while standing in a cabin.

If the symptoms are extensive, it is used in the form of a photosensitizing bath (PUVA bath therapy). Then the patient bathes in a tub containing a psoralen solution for 20 minutes, then enters the light cabin. The UV-A dose, similarly to UV-B, is gradually increased. Which starting dose can be used for whom, and how quickly it can be increased, is established for each individual with a special test (MED = determination of minimum erythema dose) before treatment.

Light treatment of psoriasis – Phototherapy,


Psoriasis and the tendency to it are inherited according to genetically determined, complicated rules. In the case of an existing predisposition, different environmental influences provoke the flare-up of the disease in each patient: febrile illness, other chronic inflammatory processes, certain medications, hormonal factors, nutritional factors, the presence of stress.

Additional light treatment methods

There is also a systemic PUVA treatment, when the patient takes the photosensitizer in a capsule 2 hours before the light treatment. It is important that its effect lasts for 24 hours, so the patient must wear sunglasses the day after the treatment to avoid light damage to the eyes. 20-30 treatments of PUVA therapy, 2-3 times a week, are sufficient in 80 percent of cases for symptom relief, which can last up to 1 year.

Nowadays, balneo-phototherapy is becoming more and more common. The essence of this is that before the narrow-wave UV-B therapy, the patient takes a bath or shower with Dead Sea salt.

UV laser treatment (excimer laser) is also heard more and more often. Currently, it is only possible in one larger center in Hungary, and it is used routinely in the USA. It is not real laser light, but the name covers UV-B light treatment with a device emitting rays with a wavelength of 308 nanometers. These special UV-B rays are not suitable for the treatment of the entire body surface, but of circumscribed areas (e.g. plaques on elbows and knees).

Early side effects of each light treatment method can be “burning” of the skin, itching, and dryness of the skin. Which can be avoided with proper treatment. The most important late side effect of UV treatments may be the increase in the frequency of malignant tumors. Since these harmful effects of individual doses of light therapy add up, individual patients cannot receive light treatment after a certain total dose.

Basic information on light therapy

JakobsenRED products are NOT medical aids, but wellness devices, the correct use of which is generally good for the body, mood and well-being. Light treatment is always only a complementary and non-curative therapy. The information available on this site does not under any circumstances constitute a doctor’s consultation, visit or diagnosis. This website does not provide Medical Consultations. It does not replace the advice of your doctor regarding your personal health. Any information regarding health conditions, medications, medical treatments  is presented for general and indicative purposes only. The information and news on the site should not be considered complete or exhaustive. You will use this website under your sole and exclusive responsibility.


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