Natural sunlight has therapeutic properties and was made use of in treatment thousands of years.” Photo” means light and “therapy” means to treat . So phototherapy involves usage of sunlight (Ultraviolet light ) in the management of certain diseases. Ultraviolet rays belongs to 3 categories viz; UVA , UVB &UVC . UVA & UVB wavelengths are used in phototherapy as they have the ability to affect our immune system cells.
Types of phototherapy
3 main types of phototherapy are
Broad band UVB
Narrow band UVB
PUVA (psoralen + UVA)
The type of phototherapy is selected depending on the nature of skin condition , the area to be treated , age of the patient and previous response to treatment . When large area of skin is to be treated whole body phototherapy is suggested and for smaller areas targeted phototherapy (TPT) is preferred..TPT has the advantage of higher concentration of UV rays and sparing of normal skin from Uv exposure.
What skin problems benefit from phototherapy ?
UVB is used to treat
PUVA is indicated for
In PUVA , a drug (psoralen), is given before exposing the skin to UVA rays ,to sensitise the skin.
Any side effects ?
Short term side effects are
Long term effects include
Who should not undergo phototherapy
1. Photosensitivity ( which means your skin disease is aggravated by sunlight)
2. Severe liver or kidney disease (for PUVA)
3. Photosensitising medicine intake
4. Pregnancy (only for PUVA)
5. Immunosuppressant intake