A Beginner’s Guide to Phototherapy
Phototherapy cannot help you delete your ex-girlfriend image from your Instagram account. However, it can provide simple and cost-effective care for many common skin conditions and other medical needs.
During the phototherapy session, your skin is exposed to artificial light sources that produce ultraviolet radiation similar to the sun. This may include narrow broadband or UVB or Puva, which combines UVA rays with chemicals called psoralen. Each of these methods works by reducing cell growth and inflammation.
Keep in mind that there is a limit. Some patients may not be candidates for phototherapy, and there can be side effects. It is often used in combination with more conventional methods when symptoms are difficult to manage.
See if phototherapy is probably an option for you. Look at this fast introduction to use the power of light to care for your skin and other health problems.
Reasons to consider phototherapy:
1. Care for your skin. Treating psoriasis is one of the most common applications for phototherapy, especially if your symptoms are severe and cover most of your body. Your skin doctor can also recommend it for eczema, vitiligo, and skin symptoms related to some cancer.
2. Relieve depression. While studies are limited, some patients use a special lightbox to help with seasonal affective disorders, a form of depression that might be related to the decline in sunlight during the fall and winter. Your doctor may advise it, along with speech therapy and treatment.
3. Sleep well. There is a close relationship between light and sleep. Some specialists use light exposure that are carefully calculated for patients with insomnia and other sleep disorders to reset their circadian rhythm. For less serious symptoms, you might want to get more exposure to light early in the morning.
4. Treat cancer. Some cancer cells can be destroyed with photodynamic therapy using special lights and drugs. This has been used for the early stages of lung cancer and other organs.
5. Explore other uses. Research continues on other medical use for light. The possibilities range from pain management to eye conditions.
Tips for using Phototherapy:
1. Consider your background. While phototherapy is safe for many adults, you have to talk to a doctor about the difficult factors. It may include pregnancy or a high risk for skin cancer or lupus.
2. Understanding side effects. Most of the side effects are light. Some of the initial studies of increased risk of skin cancer can be exaggerated, but it is something that must be considered, along with lower immunity, irritated skin, and itchy.
3. Protect your skin. Phototherapy is usually done at the dermatologist’s office, where you’ll be given sunscreen and coverings for the areas of your body that aren’t being treated. You have to avoid the sun after that, especially for the first 24 hours.
4. Protect your eyes. Your eyes need to be kept security too. Your doctor might give you glasses and tell you to wear sunglasses for a while.
5. Avoid tanning beds. Your dermatologist sometimes recommends exposure to sunlight, but most experts strongly recommend not to use tanning beds. Tanning beds and sun lights use various types of ultraviolet radiation which increases the risk of premature aging and skin cancer.
6. Follow up. Most of the form of phototherapy gives temporary results. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for how many sessions you need and treatment care. In some cases, you might be able to buy equipment that you can use at home.
7. Seek urgent care. It’s natural for your skin to feel a little annoyed after phototherapy. However, contact your doctor if you suffer from fever, signs of infection, or significant pain.
If you struggle with seasonal skin disorders or depression, ask your doctor about phototherapy. This can provide additional assistance and be cost-effective for this and other symptoms.