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Ultraviolet light and psoriasis

Ultraviolet B (UVB)

UVB light is more effective than UVA light for treating psoriasis.

  • Exposure times start at 30 to 60 seconds and are gradually increased until light causes the skin to turn red. When the skin no longer turns red after this much exposure, the time is increased.
  • Treatments are given daily or several times a week.
  • UVB light is used alone, with tar products (Goeckerman treatment), or with anthralin applied to the skin (Ingram regimen).

Ultraviolet A (UVA)

UVA penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB.

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If you're living with psoriasis, you know how uncomfortable and embarrassing the red, itchy, scaly skin can be. Treatment options for psoriasis include steroid cream or other medicated creams, oral medications, and light therapy. All of these treatments work well, but medications can have side effects and light therapy requires a regimen of three sessions a week for two to three months. Today, there is another option for treating psoriasis: excimer lasers, which deliver ultraviolet light to localized...

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  • Treatment with UVA typically takes 20 minutes per session.
  • UVA light used with psoralen drugs is called PUVA. With PUVA, the treatment time is greatly reduced, from 20 minutes to about 2 minutes.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Revised January 6, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 06, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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