Treasure Valley Dermatology is proud to offer phototherapy for the treatment of many types of skin disease. Phototherapy can be an effective way to treat psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), pruritis (itching), vitiligo, and others. Phototherapy uses a specific wavelength of light called narrowband ultraviolet B (NBUVB) to treat the skin.
What is ultraviolet B radiation (UVB)?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are produced by the sun. Although they can’t be seen, they are an important part of sunlight and are grouped into different wavelengths: UVA, UVB and UVC.
- UVA rays penetrate skin and cause it to darken or tan.
- UVB rays are mostly absorbed by the epidermis, which is the top layer of our skin and is responsible for sunburn.
- UVC rays are absorbed by the Earth's ozone layer, so they do not reach us.
A specific wavelength of UVB (311 to 312nm) thought to the most useful range for treating many skin conditions. This is referred to as narrowband UVB, Treatment with UV light is often referred to as phototherapy.
What can narrowband UVB treat?
Narrowband UVB is the administration of ultraviolet light to treat various inflammatory skin diseases including but not limited to psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, and itching (pruritus).
What does treatment involve?
Specially trained nurses administer the treatment at the clinic. Patients step into a device that resembles an upright tanning bed. However, this light will not make you develop a “tan”. Patients will expose their affected skin to the light for a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Over a period of a few weeks, patients can see significant improvement in many of the skin problems described above without exposing the body to drugs that go inside the body and have the potential to cause side effects. Treatments are repeated 2 or 3 times per week over several months. Patients may feel a warm sensation during treatment, but it does not hurt.
Why should I have narrowband UVB treatment?
This treatment should help to improve your skin condition. It is often recommended if you have tried creams without success. It is often used in combination with other treatments. Compared to other forms of phototherapy, narrowband UVB has the following benefits:
- For many conditions, you are more likely to have longer periods where your skin condition disappears or improves with narrowband UVB than with broadband UVB.
- For many (though not all) conditions, narrowband UVB is as effective as PUVA radiation), but with fewer side effects.
- Risk of skin cancer has been shown to be significantly less with narrowband UVB phototherapy than with other types of phototherapy or with natural sun exposure.
How can I get started?
Give us a call at 208-519-4333 to schedule a consultation. Together we can determine if phototherapy would be an appropriate treatment for you or if it can serve as a complementary treatment for your existing regimen. We will provide you with information to help you determine if your insurance plan covers this type of treatment.