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Light Therapy for Your Skin

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Psoralen makes your body extra sensitive to light. You need to protect your skin and eyes after taking it. Wear glasses that block ultraviolet light, and apply sunscreen for at least 24 hours after treatment.

Lasers. These highly focused beams of light target your psoriasis patches, not your healthy skin. This cuts down on side effects and may lower your chances of skin cancer. You’ll also need fewer treatments compared to other types of light treatment.

The excimer laser uses focused, high-energy ultraviolet B light. It can help patches get better faster than other methods. You usually get this treatment in your doctor's office twice a week for 4 or 5 weeks.

Side effects from laser therapy are generally mild, although some people feel pain. You may also have bruising, sunburns, and maybe scarring at the spots where you've been treated.

After laser treatment, you should avoid sunlight and be careful not to injure the area. Call your doctor if you see blisters.

Take Caution

If you're using any kind of phototherapy, including natural sunlight, make sure you aren’t being exposed to risky levels of ultraviolet rays. It’s easier than you might think. If you're using UVB or PUVA, don’t sun yourself in the yard or go out for a walk without sunscreen.

During an artificial light session, use sunscreen or wear clothing that covers up areas that don't need treatment.

Many things can make you more sensitive to light, like some blood pressure drugs, antibiotics, St. John's wort, and even celery. Avoid them when you're getting phototherapy. Have regular skin exams to check for signs of skin cancer.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on November 15, 2015

Sources

SOURCES: 

Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD, associate professor, vice chair, director of clinical trials, Department of Dermatology, University of Connecticut; consultant to NexGenix Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Amgen, Biogen, Genentech, Fujisawa, and 3-M.

Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, New York; associate clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; consultant to Amgen and Genentech.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

American Academy of Dermatology.

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Phototherapy."

Abel, E. "Psoriasis," ACP Medicine, BC Decker, 2005.

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