How Phototherapy Works on Psoriasis

In order to understand how phototherapy works on psoriasis, we must first understand what psoriasis is.

What you’ll find in this post:

What is Psoriasis?
Why is Light Therapy the Best Treatment for Psoriasis?
Different Types of Phototherapy Treatments for Psoriasis
What It Means for Patients and Physicians to Have Phototherapy Options for Psoriasis

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, which means your immune system is having a difficult time forming the much needed relationship with your healthy cells. It works harder than usual to destroy antigens as well as healthy cells. It’s a chronic disease that never goes away and has the tendency to make uncomfortable situations happen for the person who has it. However, there is hope as it can be managed and treatments are available for better comfort.


Psoriasis may appear with scaly white patches, sometimes itchy, and even painful for those who suffer from it. There are 3 levels of severity:

  1. Mild: covers less than 3% of the body
  2. Moderate: covers 3% to 10% of the body
  3. Severe: covers more than 10% of the body

However, what you see is not always what you get with psoriasis. There are people who might have severe flare ups, but manage it very well, while others can have mild appearances and suffer through depression due to social anxiety and other crisis situations that may arise from experiences brought on by psoriasis.

Why is Light Therapy the Best Treatment for Psoriasis?

For many years, the most natural treatment for psoriasis has been sunlight. In fact, people who live in warmer climates are known to experience less flare ups than those in cold weather climates.

The main purpose of putting on sunblock or sunscreen lotions are to reduce cell damage that could cause wrinkles, brown spots, and other unfavorable skin conditions. When the sun’s radiation hits the skin, it breaks down its DNA, including the ones with plaque from psoriasis, which is why for many people, phototherapy works best.

Different Types of Phototherapy Treatments for Psoriasis

Phototherapy treatments vary based on the person’s skin type and the severity of psoriasis. There are 3 main types of treatments:

  1. PUVA: UVA therapy combined with psoralen. This treatment is an option for more severe psoriasis with heavy plaque. There are higher risks compared to UVB treatments, but studies show higher clearance rates with longer remission periods.
  2. Narrowband UVB: The first choice for UVB treatment, due to “safer” and more effective possible results. It’s believed to result in less burning incidents with longer remission periods than broadband UVB phototherapy treatments. The “narrow” band is referred to the short wavelengths of light used.
  3. Broadband UVB: This treatment emits light over a broad range and can cause a more sunburning effect.

What It Means for Patients and Physicians to Have Phototherapy Options for Psoriasis

Patients trust doctors to give them the best possible options to treat their health concerns. When visiting a Dermatologist, most patients don’t realize their treatments are limited to the systems accessible by their doctor.

Dermatologists now have a great option to treat conditions via PUVA phototherapy OR narrowband UVB treatments with just one unit, called the DuaLight® targeted phototherapy system.

The Importance of Having a Targeted Phototherapy System Available with a Whole Body Phototherapy System

With severe psoriasis, the body is usually covered with plaque or signs of patches on more than 10% of the body. Sometimes this means a whole body phototherapy cabinet will be needed, which also exposes healthy skin to ultraviolet radiation. However, it’s still possible for a whole body phototherapy system to miss small crevices of skin, such as those under arms or in between folds. When this happens, using targeted phototherapy systems can make a significant difference.

Pretend that only 20% of the body is covered by psoriasis plaque. Would it make sense to expose the entire body to ultraviolet radiation or to go through the safe process of just targeting the areas that actually need phototherapy? It may take a little longer, but it would also be a little safer and with less risk for areas not affected with psoriasis.

As a skin care facility, these types of options will do wonders!