Affecting around 3% of the population, psoriasis is a skin disorder that is characterised by red scaly patches of skin. Psoriasis light treatment is often used with favourable results in people diagnosed with the condition, although it is often not the first method of treatment a doctor would take. Several factors can determine how a doctor will decide on what treatment is the most suitable for a specific patient, as there is no one size fits all solution to the problem of psoriasis.
In many cases, the use of topical treatments applied directly to the skin are the natural first option to explore when combating psoriasis. Light treatment is often considered a secondary option, should the topical psoriasis treatments not prove to be effective. The exception to this is when a patient has a large proportion of their skin affected by psoriasis, which would render the use of creams and lotions expensive, given the amount that would have to used for each application.
In a person dealing with psoriasis, it is thought that the immune system is at the root of its cause. A type of white blood cell called T-cells, which are normally used to fight off infection and disease, are instead used in the production of skin cells. This results in way too many new skin cells being created than is normally required, and it is the accumulation of these excess skin cells that cluster on the surface of the skin that we recognise as psoriasis. In time this excess skin will begin to flake, which gives psoriasis its scaly appearance.
Light therapy for psoriasis has been proven to be beneficial to anyone suffering from the disease. Exposure to UV light has the effect of causing the T-cells that have become active in the production of skin cells to die, and so gradually the accumulated excess skin cells will become reduced as they themselves die and flake off. It has long been noted that cases of psoriasis are less common in places with a warm tropical climate that when a person suffering from psoriasis visits such a place on vacation they will often notice some improvement. This has led to the development of psoriasis light treatment using special UV lamps, carried out under medical supervision.
Although sunlight, or ultraviolet, light has a spectrum covering many different wavelengths, the two we are most interested in are UVA and UVB. It has been discovered that exposure to UVB light alone is the most effective in the treatment of psoriasis. A course of UVB light therapy for psoriasis will involve the patient attending a clinic or physicians office where the UVB lamp is located, and their affected areas of skin being exposed to the UVB light under strict medical supervision.
Although often very effective, the main drawback to the use of light therapy for psoriasis is the inconvenience of having to visit a treatment center several times a week. This will need to go on for at least two months in order to completely eradicate the signs of psoriasis, so you will need some degree of commitment in order to stay the course. Once you have completed the course of light treatment, you will generally only have to make a visit again for infrequent maintenance sessions.
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