UV light for eczema is often used when patients have tried topical treatments that were ineffective. UV light, also known as ultraviolet light therapy, is used in addition to topical treatments. It’s usually conducted in a hospital or clinic by a trained professional. In many cases, UV light treatments are conducted by a dermatologist. Below is helpful information about the treatments.
As a disclaimer, while we do our best to make sure all info is accurate, check with your healthcare provider before attempting any new treatment.
About UV Light for Eczema
UV light treatments take place in what’s often called a ‘box' where UV light is administered. It's beneficial because it provides vitamin D, which is good for skin health. However, the amount of UV rays allowed is important because overexposure can result in premature aging. An excessive amount of UV rays can also lead to skin cancer. Sometimes there is confusion about the benefits of UV light for eczema given the potential dangers of overuse. This is precisely why it’s important to have a professional administer the treatments.
UV Light Therapy Process
There are different types of ultraviolet light used for eczema, including UVA, UVB and UVC. While it’s beneficial to use UV light for eczema, sometimes flare-ups can occur after you have stopped having the treatments. It usually takes a few weeks before you truly start to see the benefits of UV light treatments. In addition to visible changes, there is often less itching and flaking skin. The timeframe for receiving treatments will depend on the severity of your flare-ups. Some people only receive treatments for a couple of months, while others can receive them for six months or longer.
Candidates for UV Light Therapy
UV light treatments are used for both children and adults. They can be administered to patients that have severe or moderate eczema and have not been able to obtain sufficient relief from topical treatments. Individuals that have a sensitivity to ultraviolet rays should not receive this treatment. This should be determined in coordination with your doctor. UV light treatments cannot continue indefinitely because long-term exposure to UV rays can increase the risk of melanoma.
Frequency of Use
The frequency in which you receive light therapy will vary. Sometimes it’s necessary to receive treatments several times a week. Dedication and commitment is important because if you miss an appointment, it can impact the overall success of the treatments. The length of each session will also vary and the decision will be made carefully based on the type of equipment used and the condition of your skin. The treatments will be monitored closely and there will likely be a patch test conducted in advance.
Some of the side effects of UV light therapy includes itching skin that might become dry, red and swollen. Although this is normal, you should notify the person administering the treatment right away. There’s a chance that you will experience a flare-up during the beginning of the treatment, but this is something that will likely subside.
Whether or not UV light for eczema is right for you will depend on many factors. You should always discuss any concerns you have with your doctor and get answers to your questions. This is a type of treatment that works well for some people but not for everyone.