The term phototherapy means the use of light to treat medical conditions. Natural sunlight has been found to be beneficial in certain skin disorders for thousands of years and UVB Phototherapy treatment works by exposing the skin to an artificial light source. These light rays have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.
It is the ultraviolet part of the radiation produced by the sun that is used in phototherapy, namely the Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths. There are two main types of phototherapy:
- UVB in which the skin condition is treated a small part of the UVB spectrum to treat the condition
- PUVA (Psoralen + UVA) also sometimes called photochemotherapy, in which UVA radiation is combined with sensitiser (a chemical that increases the effect of UVA on the skin) called a psoralen. The choice of the type of phototherapy to use is dependent on the type of skin condition, previous responses to treatment among other factors. UVB is available at both the St. Michael’s Clinic and Donnington sites. PUVA is currently available by referral onwards to hospital outpatient’s department
In UVB phototherapy, treatment lamps are used to produce the rays. UVB treatment is more effective as a treatment than natural sunlight as harmful and ineffective sunlight rays are able to be filtered out to minimise the risk of burning.
What Can UVB Phototherapy Treat?
UVB Phototherapy is an effective treatment for many different skin conditions, particularly psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo. This treatment can also be used to build up a tolerance to natural light for people who have light sensitive skin conditions.
What Does UVB Phototherapy Involve?
During your treatment, your skin will be examined and you will be given goggles to protect your eyes during treatment. You will stand in the UVB machine for up to 10 minutes where UVB rays in a specific dose will be shinned onto your skin. The machine is bright and can feel quite warm. Treatments usually take place 2-3 times a week for 12-16 weeks.
Most patients report an improvement in their skin condition after around 30 treatments and the effects last for around four months. The number of treatments required and the success of this treatment does depend on the individual and the skin condition.
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St. Michael's Clinic
St. Michael's Street
Telephone: 01743 590010
Fax: 01743 590017
Why choose St. Michael's Clinic?
Here at St. Michael's Clinic, Shrewsbury's leading private skin and laser treatment clinic, our experts are specialists in all aspects of dermatology, skin cancer, anti-ageing and beauty treatments. We are able to offer NHS patients a consultant led dermatology service from our three sites in Shrewsbury, Much Wenlock and Donnington (Telford).
St. Michael's Clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, ensuring the best level of treatment is provided to you in a safe environment. Our Clinical Lead Dr Stephen Murdoch is a member of the British Association of Dermatologists, the British Laser Medical Association and the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. We are part of the Dermatology Partnership, a leading group of dermatology clinics, defined by clinical excellence and focusing on leading dermatological care.