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How does phototherapy treat severe eczema?

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If your doctor suggests “light therapy,” you’ll sit under a special machine that emits UVB light. UVB rays are the type that can give you a sunburn. But when you’re exposed to very small amounts, they actually help heal your skin.

UVB rays can reduce itching and inflammation. They can also help your skin resist bacteria that can cause infections. Up to 70% of people with stubborn eczema see their symptoms improve after about a month of light therapy.

SOURCES:

Katta, R. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, March 2014.

Walling, H. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, published online July 28, 2010.

National Eczema Association: “Phototherapy,” “Immunosuppresants,” “Topical Cacineurin Inhibitors.”

FDA: “Public Health Advisory: Elidel (pimecrolimus) Cream and Protopic (tacrolimus) Ointment.”

UpToDate: “Patient Information: Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema): Beyond the Basics,”

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “Eczema,” “Oral Steroids,” “Phototherapy: UVB.”

ChoosingWisely.org: “Antibiotics for your Skin.”

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: “Alitretinoin for the treatment of severe chronic hand eczema.”

Ghasri, P. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, published online April 19, 2010.

American Psychological Association: “The Link Between Skin and Psychology.”

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center: “Understanding Biofeedback.”

McMenamy, C. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, September 1988.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 14, 2020

SOURCES:

Katta, R. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, March 2014.

Walling, H. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, published online July 28, 2010.

National Eczema Association: “Phototherapy,” “Immunosuppresants,” “Topical Cacineurin Inhibitors.”

FDA: “Public Health Advisory: Elidel (pimecrolimus) Cream and Protopic (tacrolimus) Ointment.”

UpToDate: “Patient Information: Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema): Beyond the Basics,”

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “Eczema,” “Oral Steroids,” “Phototherapy: UVB.”

ChoosingWisely.org: “Antibiotics for your Skin.”

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: “Alitretinoin for the treatment of severe chronic hand eczema.”

Ghasri, P. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, published online April 19, 2010.

American Psychological Association: “The Link Between Skin and Psychology.”

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center: “Understanding Biofeedback.”

McMenamy, C. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, September 1988.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on June 14, 2020

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