UVB PHOTOTHERAPY FOR PSORIASIS AND VITILIGO
At Cahaba Dermatology in Birmingham, we offer NB-UVB for psoriasis and vitiligo treatment. We are experts at treating psoriasis and will help you get clear skin faster. As one of the few treatment centers for psoriasis in Alabama, we offer a therapeutic spectrum for psoriasis from UV light therapy and an excimer laser, to oral, topical, and injectable treatments. Read on for more information on psoriasis diagnosis and treatment options. In particular, this page will focus more on our UVB Phototherapy psoriasis treatment.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PSORIASIS?
While we don’t know what causes psoriasis, we do know that both genetics and the immune system play an important role. Other possible causes are believed to be stress, skin injury, infection, and the weather. If you’re wondering whether you might have psoriasis, here are explanations of each type. However, as always, the best way to know for sure is to be examined by a board-certified dermatologist.
Plaque psoriasis, or psoriasis vulgaris, appears as raised red rashes (plaques) on the skin. It is caused by an overactive immune system that attempts to grow and shed skin cells at nearly 10 times the normal pace. Often, psoriasis has an appearance of white or silvery scales. The red patches of over-abundant skin cells can itch and vary in size. Sometimes nails may become brittle, discolored, and lift off the nail bed. Knees and elbows are also common places for psoriasis to occur.
Guttate psoriasis involves small, red spots on the arms and legs, but can appear anywhere, and may clear up on its own. Sometimes guttate psoriasis occurs after an illness.
Pustular psoriasis causes pus-filled bumps on the feet, hands, palms, or soles. If these bumps appear all over the body, you should get to a hospital as soon as possible.
Inverse psoriasis, sometimes called flexural or intertriginous psoriasis, is smooth red patches of skin which appear raw, where skin touches skin such as the pelvic region or the armpits. Skin is sore to the touch.
Erythrodermic psoriasis, sometimes called exfoliative psoriasis, makes skin look as if it’s burned. Most skin on the body turns bright red and cannot maintain its normal temperature. Quick heartbeat, along with intense pain and itching can occur, and anyone affected should seek treatment right away.
CAN PSORIASIS BE TREATED IN DIFFERENT WAYS?
Yes—we use a variety of therapies including systemic and topical treatments, biological, laser, and UVB phototherapy. However, the content of this page mainly focuses on UVB Phototherapy. For more on our other psoriasis treatments, at both our Tuscaloosa and Birmingham locations, please take a look at our psoriasis services page
UVB PHOTOTHERAPY PSORIASIS TREATMENT
Phototherapy, also commonly referred to as light therapy, has been used as an effective psoriasis treatment for many years and is extremely safe. We have a top-of-the-line phototherapy center offering a total body phototherapy unit equipped with Narrow Band UVB and UVA lights. We have an experienced and well-trained staff to provide your phototherapy treatment. We will always make sure that you are comfortable during your psoriasis treatments. Our staff will also assist you with home phototherapy if needed. Our patients come in two to three times a week for quick, painless treatment. There is no need to wait. These visits can be scheduled all throughout the day.
How does UVB work?
UVB inhibits DNA synthesis, which may, in turn, inhibit the overgrowth of skin cells seen in psoriasis plaques. UVB also promotes the self-destruction of T lymphocytes, the immune cells that gather in psoriasis plaques and trigger inflammation. Finally, UVB increases cellular production of several substances that reduce inflammation. Some combination of these mechanisms may explain how UVB exposure controls psoriasis. It is quite effective as a psoriasis treatment.
How are they administered?
Patients usually receive a UVB psoriasis treatment three times a week for several months at a dermatologist’s office or clinic. Before beginning treatment, patients are generally evaluated to determine the maximum amount of light they can tolerate without developing erythema, or reddening of the skin (the Minimal Erythema Dose (MED)). Treatment begins at a lower exposure and is gradually raised.
To improve effectiveness, NB-UVB is sometimes used in combination with topical treatments such as vitamin D3 analogues (calcipotriene), retinoids (tazarotene), or with systemic medications.
How well do they work?
NB-UVB is superior for treating plaque psoriasis. NB-UVB works well even at doses significantly below the MED, so patients experience fewer side effects. One review of the available clinical trial data concluded that psoriasis clears completely for 63-80% of those who use NB-UVB; another similar review found that 55% of patients experience a 75% reduction in psoriasis severity (PASI75) after 12 weeks of treatment.
When will my psoriasis clear?
Clearance can take a while. Most patients need 15 to 20 treatments to see a 50% reduction in psoriasis severity. This corresponds to five to seven weeks if following the typical three-times-per week treatment schedule. If you have questions or concerns about caring for your skin, you should make an appointment to discuss treatment. Call us at 205-214-7546 .
NB-UVB THERAPEUTIC ADVANTAGES FOR YOUR SKIN CONDITION
Psoriasis – Narrowband UVB light treatment provides faster clearing, less sun burning, and more complete disease resolution than traditional UVB and is much safer than biologics.
Vitiligo – Narrowband UVB lights are proving to be very useful in the treatment of vitiligo. Narrowband UVB light treatment is replacing traditional PUVA phototherapy treatment. UVB narrowband lamps for vitiligo require no photosensitizing agents. People have been using ultraviolet (UV) light in the form of sunlight to treat psoriasis for more than a century, and most psoriasis patients still find that their symptoms improve during the sunnier months of the year. But these days, light therapy, or phototherapy, for psoriasis can involve exposure to specially designed UV lamps in the setting of a dermatology clinic. At Cahaba Dermatology, we offer UVB, UVA, and excimer phototherapy. There are several types of artificial UV light therapy: broadband UVB (BB-UVB), narrowband UVB (NB-UVB), psoralen plus UVA (PUVA), and targeted therapies including the excimer laser. Each is quite effective at improving psoriasis.
At Cahaba Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists always follow the American Academy of Dermatology Psoriasis Treatment Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals, ensuring you receive the best care possible.
Looking for psoriasis treatment in the Birmingham area? Contact us today to set up an appointment. Give us a call at 205-214-7546 or use the link at the top of this site to book an appointment at either our Tuscaloosa or Birmingham office.