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Plagued by Plaques on your Skin? Let’s Talk about Phototherapy!

Acute psoriasis on elbows

Psoriasis can be a serious condition; not because it is a threat to general health, but because the autoimmune disease can have an enormous impact on your overall sense of wellness. The frequency of flare-ups and the regular appearance of the skin may cause tremendous self-consciousness. And we haven’t even mentioned the discomfort from itchy, irritated skin.

The cause of psoriasis lies in the immune system, but the effects are seen in the rate at which skin cells renew. More specifically, the rate at which old cells are sloughed off versus the development of new cells. Because new cells are forming faster than old cells die off, the buildup occurs. These are often referred to as plaques. At Westerville Dermatology, patients can find psoriasis treatment that is customized to meet their needs. Not everyone responds appropriately to topical creams and lotions. At the same time, biologics, or oral medications, may not be necessary. Right in between the two, we find phototherapy.

Phototherapy is a term that refers to light therapy. Evidence that the skin responds to UV exposure has sent some people to their local tanning salon, or to hours sitting under the sun. This is not necessarily the right approach. The value in phototherapy lies in its ability to modify cellular turnover without putting one at risk for unhealthy conditions like sunburn or skin cancer. That is why dermatologists like those in our Westerville practice turn to narrow-band UVB light.

Narrow-band UVB does occur naturally in the sunshine. However, professional treatment isolates the appropriate wavelengths to achieve the goal. It is NB-UVB that benefits the skin the most, and which is best suited to the treatment of psoriasis. Professional treatments are focused and intense, which means that less time under light is needed to produce the desired outcome safely and gently, without side effects.

The skin cells targeted in phototherapy sessions slow in their turnover rate. Improvement is achieved through a course of treatment based on individual need. Most patients will require a series of phototherapy sessions, with each treatment scheduled a few days apart. Depending on the severity of psoriasis, additional treatment modalities, such as topical medication, may also be included.

Don’t let psoriasis keep you from feeling confident and comfortable. Call (614)-895-0400.

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