Benefits, Risks, and Treatment Options


Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, involves using artificial UVB (ultraviolet light B) to treat a number of skin conditions, including psoriasis.

The therapeutic value of light lies in its ability to slightly suppress immune activity in the skin. “Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where there is too much immune activity in the skin; treatment with light therapy turns down that overactive immune response,” says Elisabeth Richard, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

Reducing the immune response decreases the inflammation associated with psoriasis, and helps skin heal, explains Dr. Richard.

Dermatologists have been using phototherapy as a psoriasis treatment for over 100 years, making it a tried-and-true method, says Jeffrey Sobel, MD, a dermatologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. “Although it may not work for everyone, light therapy has been a very effective therapy for many of my patients,” he says.


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