Many common dermatologic diseases are thought to be caused by a dysregulation of the skin's immune system. These disorders often improve upon exposure to natural sunlight, and in recent years physicians have discovered that ultraviolet light is the source of the sun's therapeutic effects. Ultraviolet light appears to block the aberrant immune mechanisms present in patients with particular cutaneous diseases, inducing a temporary or permanent partial or complete remission of symptoms.
Phototherapy is useful in the treatment of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, pityriasis rosea, lichen planus, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), and intractable itching. Exposure is directed towards the involved area of skin and can include total body, hand and foot or other specialized modalities. The UConn Health Department of Dermatology offers a full range of phototherapy treatment modalities including:
- UVB (280-320nm)
- PUVA [psoralens plus UVA (320-400nm)]
- Narrow band UVB
Narrow band UVB is a newer therapeutic modality used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and other disorders of the skin. Advantages of narrow band UVB include no need for oral medications, no necessary eye precautions or risk of photosensitization, and decreased risk of side effects such as photoaging and skin cancer. Preliminary studies suggest narrow band UVB may be comparable in efficacy to standard PUVA and possibly superior to standard UVB.
The Department of Dermatology offers four phototherapy booths and numerous hand and foot units for localized therapy. Early morning sessions are available upon request and a professional physician and nursing staff is available to custom tailor a therapeutic regimen best suited to your needs.
If you are interested in learning more about phototherapy for your skin condition, please contact us for an appointment.