Psoriasis - Laser Treatment for Psoriasis

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How Well Do Psoriasis Laser Treatments Work?

Psoriasis laser treatments work well on people with mild-to-moderate psoriasis. But because the light is concentrated, it's not effective for people with psoriasis on large areas of the body.

Because laser treatment for psoriasis is still a relatively new therapy, research is still underway to confirm its effectiveness. Some studies find that most people who are treated with lasers see real improvements in their skin that can last anywhere from several months to a year. Results are usually seen within 8 to 10 sessions.

What You Should Know Before Starting Laser Treatment

Laser treatment for psoriasis can produce dramatic results in some people -- but this therapy isn't for everyone. To make sure you're a good candidate, have a complete health history and exam done before starting treatment.

Avoid laser treatments if you have:

  • Lupus
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum (an inherited disease that causes sensitivity to sunlight)
  • Risks for, or a history of, skin cancer
  • A condition that requires you to take medications that make you sensitive to the sun
  • A weakened immune system

Are There Any Risks to Laser Treatments for Psoriasis?

Laser therapy is generally safe, but some people have reported side effects after treatment, including:

  • Temporary redness, itching, burning, and stinging
  • Blistering
  • Purple-colored spots (purpura) on the skin
  • Darkening or lightening of the skin (hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation)
  • Scarring

More research is needed to determine whether exposure to UVB light from the excimer laser might increase the long-term risk for skin cancer.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on May 31, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Phototherapy."

de Leeuw, J. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, February 2006; vol 54: pp 266-271.

News release, American Academy of Dermatology.

Hruza G.J. Journal Watch, 2005; vol 4.

Talbjee, S.M. British Journal of Dermatology, November 2005; vol 153: pp 960-966.

Brubb B. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, December 2008.

Gerber, W. British Journal of Dermatology, December 2003; vol 149: pp 1250-1258.

Trehan, M. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, November 2002; vol 45: pp 701-708.

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