What You Should Know about UVB and PUVA Therapy
UVB and PUVA therapies are widely used in the treatment of skin disorders through exposure of the skin to UV light on a regular basis under medical supervision. The success of the procedure depends on how often it’s done and how severe the condition is. However, you need to seek medical advice before undergoing UVB or PUVA therapy. Visakhapatnam dermatologists will examine your condition and advise you on the best therapy to use. Initially, both UV-B and PUVA treatments were used in the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo. The recent study shows that phototherapy (PUVA and UVB therapy) can also treat mycosis fungoides, atopic dermatitis and lichen planus among others.
How UVB and PUVA therapy works
UVB therapy is used in treatment of vitiligo and psoriasis. Also referred to as “TL–O1”, it is administered in a phototherapy booth using UVB lamp. The dermatologist will examine you to know how much UVB light should be exposed to you during the course of the UVB phototherapy. Visakhapatnam dermatologist will closely monitor your progress during the sessions. Therapy is usually administered twice or thrice per week, for 4-6 weeks. You’ll stand inside the UVB cabinet for few seconds or minutes at a given time. However, you’ll be required to cover certain areas and expose others depending on the target area during UVB phototherapy. Visakhapatnam Institute of Skin & Allergy staff administering the treatment will answer all your questions regarding where to cover and how to do it.
On the other hand, PUVA treatment involves a combination of psoralen drugs and UVA light. UVA unlike UVB is not effective when used alone hence it’s combined with psoralen (a compound derived from plants) so as enhance its reaction with the skin during PUVA therapy. Visakhapatnam skin specialist will administer psoralen orally or topically depending on the area being treated. PUVA therapy is used in moderate or severe cases of psoriasis where UVB therapy or topical applications are ineffective. This is because UVA light penetrates the skin deeper than UVB light. It’s for this reason that PUVA treatment is highly used in treating hand and foot psoriasis. The therapy is administered the same way as UVB in a phototherapy booth under the supervision of a medical professional. The dermatologist will precisely calculate the amount of light that your skin should be exposed to and closely monitor your response so as to add more exposure if needed. PUVA therapy can be administered twice weekly, for 5-8 weeks.
However, psoralen makes your skin and eyes highly sensitive to UV-A light hence you should take precautions during PUVA therapy. Visakhapatnam dermatologist should advise you on the best measures to take, the protective glasses to wear and where to buy them. These should be worn for 24 hours after therapy. The glasses will protect your eyes from getting cataracts. It’s also advisable for men to cover their genitals during therapy.
Dangers of UVB and PUVA therapy
Though both treatments are quite safe in India skin, prolonged exposure to UV light causes suntan, aging, sun burns and skin damage. Exposure to it may lead to skin cancer and also cause eye damage. There’s a risk of skin cancer when exposed to high amounts of UV light during UVB phototherapy. Visakhapatnam being a relatively hot city, taking adequate precautions whilst outdoors is important. You dermatologist will monitor the amount of UVB rays you’re exposed to during all sessions. Prolonged exposure to UVA light might cause dermal damage, skin cancer, aging as well as cataracts. The possibility of getting cataracts could be reduced by using sunglasses when outdoors. However, UVB is much safer than UVA since its side effects are mild and short term.
Now that you understand phototherapy and the dangers involved, you need to get a qualified dermatologist to handle your case.