How does light therapy work for psoriasis?


Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder which leads to the development of scaly rashes on the skin of the patient. The disorder is believed to be auto-immune. That is, the immune system malfunctions and produces excessive skin cells. Many treatments are tried for psoriasis patients, because different bodies react to different treatments. Light therapy is on the expensive side, and there are some potential side effects. Therefore, it is kept as a last resort, when most other treatments don’t work.

Light therapy involves basically exposing the immune system to UVA or UVB rays, so that the overproduction of scaly skin stops. Only the affected areas of the skin are exposed to the rays and the sensitive areas are covered. Goggles are worn over the eyes to protect them from the rays. You can go to the clinic for regular sessions. Or, some people prefer to buy the required equipment to take therapy at home.


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It is, however, preferred to go to the clinic, because you need to continually take therapy, which might not happen at home. Secondly, the equipment may be costly, and your health insurance may not cover it. Therefore, you may use better and more variety of machines when going to the clinic, than at home. Also, there are potential dangers like that of burning, since expert training like that to a health professional is not available at home. However, people with advanced psoriasis are not able to do clinic visits and have to buy the equipment for home.

Light therapy is of two types. UV therapy consists of giving the patient’s body exposure to UVA or UVB rays. Both these rays are found in the light of the sun. UVB ray therapy is much older and has been prevalent in psoriasis treatment for more than seventy years. The other type is PUVA therapy. Here, UVA therapy is given along with psoralen. It is a potent medicine. It may be applied or taken orally. It makes the skin more sensitive, therefore making light therapy more useful.

Light therapy is a long procedure. You may have to take therapy from 3 to 5 times in a week. The sessions may last up to months. Even after you attain relief, you may have to visit the clinic every ten days or so. Also, the effectiveness of the therapy depends on the skin type and advancement of disease and may be different for each individual.


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