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Phototherapy is the supervised use of ultraviolet (UV) light to treat skin conditions, including eczema. Ultraviolet B (UVB) or ultraviolet A (UVA) may be used during therapy. The most common type of phototherapy to treat eczema is narrowband UVB.
During phototherapy, you may stand in a booth that contains light tubes that give off UV light. Or you may have treatment with a smaller device if you have eczema in a limited area. Treatment is usually several times a week at first. Once your eczema is doing better, you may have treatment less often. Sometimes people are able to do the treatment at home.
To keep yourself safe, carefully follow all of your doctor's instructions. This may include protecting your eyes by wearing UV-blocking goggles during treatments.
After treatment, the skin is usually red or pink. Your skin may also be tender or itchy. Or you may feel stinging or burning. Some people get dark spots on the skin. This is more common in people with darker skin.
Phototherapy may be used to treat eczema in adults. In some cases it may be used to treat severe symptoms in older children.
Phototherapy with ultraviolet (UV) light can be an effective treatment for moderate to severe eczema. Phototherapy may work better when used with ointments and medicines.
UV light may help prevent bacterial infections, which are a particular problem in people with eczema.
Risks related to phototherapy include:
Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Ellen K. Roh MD - Dermatology & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
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