Light Therapy for Psoriasis
Light therapy has proven to be fairly effective in improving the appearance of inflamed, scaly skin due to psoriasis. Natural ultraviolet light from the sun and controlled delivery of artificial ultraviolet light are used in light therapy for psoriasis. Studies have shown that combining ultraviolet (UV) light therapy and certain medications adds to the effectiveness of UV light.
Psoriasis therapy is generally based on:
- The severity of the disease
- Size of the areas involved
- Type of psoriasis
- Patient's response to initial psoriasis therapy.
This is sometimes called the "1-2-3" approach.
- Step 1 uses psoriasis medications applied to the skin (topical psoriasis therapy)
- Step 2 uses light therapy
- Step 3 involves taking medicines (by mouth or injection) that treat the whole immune system (called systemic therapy).
(Click Psoriasis Medication for more information about topical and systemic treatment options for psoriasis.)
Natural ultraviolet light from the sun and controlled delivery of artificial ultraviolet light are used in light therapy for psoriasis.
Much of sunlight is composed of bands of different wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light. When absorbed into the skin, UV light suppresses the process leading to disease, causing activated T cells in the skin to die. This process reduces inflammation and slows the turnover of skin cells that causes scaling. Daily, short, nonburning exposure to sunlight clears or improves psoriasis in many people. Therefore, exposing affected skin to sunlight is one initial psoriasis therapy.