Psoriasis and phototherapy. Therapy of lights and psoriasis. The anti-inflammatory effect of phototherapy regulates the complex immune defenses, reducing the proliferation of skin cells and improving the skin lesions typical of the disease. The anti-inflammatory effect of phototherapy regulates the complex immune defenses, reducing the proliferation of skin cells and improving the skin lesions typical of the disease.
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease (due to an abnormal immune response), of probable genetic origins that is often triggered by environmental and psychological factors. Among the many allies of psoriasis we find the sun or ultraviolet rays, considered the only tool for the treatment of many diseases for a long time. Since ancient times it was known that sun exposure could lead to disease improvement. However, lifestyle, geographic location, weather, and sometimes a constant sense of shame, do not allow us to regularly spend a few days on the beach or just enjoy half an hour on the balcony for sunbathing as well. For this reason, more and more people suffering from psoriasis, especially in winter, decide to undergo phototherapy. In order to understand the beneficial effects and the possible contraindications of ultraviolet rays exposure, it is necessary, first, to understand the action of UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays represent about 95% of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the surface of the earth. They are able to penetrate deep into the skin, reaching and altering the cells of the dermis having consequences such as:
• Relaxation and loss of skin tone;
• The variation in orientation of the elastin and collagen fibers resulting in wrinkles;
• Sun intolerances with redness and itching;
• skin patches;
• The development of skin tumors.
UVB rays are present in natural sunlight and have a shorter wavelength than UVA rays. These do not penetrate the dermis layer and act primarily on the surface - at the level of the epidermis - and contribute to:
Stimulate the production of melanocytes, cytokines and anti-inflammatory substances;
Stimulate the production of melanin;
Stimulate the production of vitamin D (http://www.psotherapy.online/blog/la-psoriasis-y-la-vitamina-d/), which is essential to keep under control the symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis without damaging the dermis in depth.
Considering the positive effects of UVB rays exposure, we can understand how they have been wisely used for new therapies such as phototherapy.
What is phototherapy?
Phototherapy or light therapy involves prolonged exposure to UVB rays, usually narrow band - ultraviolet B 311 nm - (within booths equipped with specific lamps whose function is monitored by control Electronic) for therapeutic use. Its purpose is to treat a number of skin and body conditions, including particularly difficult and / or widespread psoriasis, dermatitis and acne, and also osteoporosis and rickets. The anti-inflammatory effect of phototherapy regulates the complex immune defenses, reducing the proliferation of skin cells and improving the skin lesions typical of the disease.
"This treatment has nothing to do with solar tanning lamps that increases the risk of developing melanoma by 60% and does not improve psoriasis"
- World Health Organization -
How often should you undergo phototherapy?
Phototherapy is usually done two or three times a week and generally in cycles of 20 or 25 sessions. It starts with a minimal dose of UV rays. Such exposure will gradually increase over time to a maximum of 6 minutes per session.
Who should not attend to phototherapy?
Those people who have very white skin, defined as "phototype low", which burns easily to sun exposure, should be paid special attention.
Should side effects occur?
Assuming that the treatment is generally safe, you have to take into account the side effects of it, noting that there may be consequences, albeit they could be mild and have short duration. These side effects occur due to the incorrect amount and duration of the sessions or even sometimes, the negative interaction of certain drugs with the therapy. Although it rarely happens, the following side effects may occur: nausea, rash, dry mouth, eye fatigue, and irritability. However, it is necessary to clarify that the most annoying effects usually occur in the initial stage and in any case, the same physician can appropriately readjust the time between sessions. It is extremely effective to combine the therapy with a topical treatment in order to reduce the sessions and treat the disease in several ways. In fact, it is indicated to daily hydrate the skin during the treatment aiming to promote psoriatic scales removal while increasing the effectiveness of phototherapy. Remember that before starting with phototherapy it is recommended to undergo a medical examination to know what measures to take and to ensure if such treatment is appropriate for you. It is also important, in case of improvement, not to interrupt the normal therapies, healthy diet and possible natural remedies.
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