What Is Ultraviolet Light B [UVB] Phototherapy?
Using Phototherapy to treat skin problems has been around as far back as ancient Egyptian times.
Egyptian Pharaohs used sunlight as a medical treatment to heal a variety of diseases and skin conditions.
The Greeks indulged in sunbaths and solariums to increase the endurance and strength of their athletes.
Ultraviolet B light [or UVB phototherapy] is a treatment that exposes your scalp and skin to an artificial UVB light source regularly for a period.
It’s also used to treat inflammatory conditions that affect your scalp, like psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema.
The Types of UVB Treatment.
Studies show the top reasons why there’s a decline in using UVB phototherapy as a treatment due to low insurance reimbursement rates, training requirements, and an increase in its cost.
The 3 common types of UVB treatment options for inflammatory skin conditions [like psoriasis] includes:
- Broadband ultraviolet B [BB-UVB]. This type of phototherapy provides a broad wavelength of UV wavelengths.
- Narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB). This type of phototherapy exposes your skin to a limited spectrum of light, known as a narrow band.
- Psoralen + ultraviolet A (PUVA). PUVA involves using a medication known as psoralen and skin exposure to UVA light. Combining these two elements helps make the skin and scalp more responsive to UV light.
How the Treatment Works
The affected areas of your skin and scalp are exposed to ultraviolet lights.
This helps reduce inflammation and slow the production rate of the skin cells that contribute to these skin conditions.
How Often Can You Get Ultraviolet B Phototherapy?
You can engage in UVB phototherapy 3 times per week in a clinic or office setting.
These facilities come with specialized rooms [or cabins] and fluorescent lamps that give off UV light of a specified wavelength.
Many people undergo 20 - 30 treatments and it’s done in minutes.
After a few months of treatments, your provider will likely suggest that you establish a weekly maintenance regimen if you’re dealing with other skin conditions.
UV Lamps. Some facilities have UV lamps available to help treat specific parts of the body, like your head.
Home Phototherapy Units. Home UV units are another option if you’d like to receive home treatments.
Home UVB treatments are more convenient and are just like a hospital or clinic setting.
Can Ultraviolet B Therapy Help To Treat Inflammatory Scalp Conditions?
Dermatologists agree that UVB phototherapy is quite useful for treating inflammatory conditions [like psoriasis and eczema] that affect your scalp.
Alopecia areata is greatly responsive to PUVA therapy.
Studies show that this combination therapy increases the chance of hair regrowth.
Benefits of Using Narrow Band Uvb Therapy
There are many benefits associated with using UVB therapy like:
- A shorter course of treatment for the condition
- Shuts down overactive cells in the skin that contribute to the condition
You might notice common side effects after using UVB like a mild sunburn, brown spots, or itching.
These side effects generally occur within 8 hours of treatment, then disappear over the next several days.
Ultraviolet B phototherapy is quite useful in treating skin conditions that cause inflammatory responses like psoriasis and eczema.
Staying consistent with your treatment is necessary for the best results.
You might notice side effects but they’re rare.
However, don’t be afraid to ask your treating provider questions to identify if this treatment is the best option for you.
Ready to say goodbye to those annoying scalp conditions for good?