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Phototherapy to manage psoriasis

Phototherapy has been part of the therapeutic arsenal in psoriasis for many years. It consists in projecting ultraviolet rays (known as UV) onto the skin to reproduce the beneficial effects of the sun on psoriasis, essentially through anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive action. There are various protocol types depending on the UV light used (UVA and/or UVB). In all cases, a controlled dose is administered.

An effective solution

Phototherapy is effective against different forms of psoriasis, whether widespread or not, and is most often used in combination with local treatments: topical corticosteroids, vitamin D derivatives, etc.

Exactly how does it work?

How does it work in practice? Sessions only last a few minutes and take place in a dermatology office or department equipped with a phototherapy booth. It’s nothing like going to the "tanning booths" available in stores or in some beauty salons. Phototherapy is performed under medical supervision, with 2 to 3 sessions a week for several months, for example in winter when there is less sunshine outside.

Because of its adverse effects (skin aging, eye damage, skin cancer, etc.), phototherapy as a treatment for psoriasis is mainly administered to adults and sessions cannot be too long or repeated too often. 

Phototherapy is an effective treatment for psoriasis but it does not work for everyone. It is just one among a range of options and it can help some patients, but it is administered on a case-by-case basis. It is sometimes difficult to follow phototherapy treatment for psoriasis for logistical reasons: geographical distance, working hours, etc.

Typically, after each session, skin is slightly more tanned: a guaranteed healthy-glow effect! However, excess exposure to UV must be avoided: between each session, wear protective clothing, sunglasses and regularly apply a high-protection sunscreen.

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