Phototherapy Treatment Unit

A patient in a phototherapy booth

Ultraviolet light services to treat chronic skin disorders

Our phototherapy treatment unit offers a broad range of ultraviolet light services for chronic skin disorders such as psoriasisvitiligo and atopic dermatitis, and other light-responsive conditions such as contact dermatitismycosis fungoidesactinic keratoses and acne. Our doctors and nurses provide individual treatment programs, and the unit is self contained in our office, so your check-in, treatment and check-out are seamless and efficient. 

The unit offers a broad range of treatments including:

  • Ultraviolet B light therapy (narrow-band)
  • PUVA (psoralen + ultraviolet A light - topical, and systemic)
  • Excimer laser (ultraviolet B laser)
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Grenz ray

Ultraviolet B light therapy is often used in the treatment of psoriasis and other light responsive diseases. It is also called narrow-band UVB, which is a specific wavelength of light that is effective in treating diseases like psoriasis. The treatments are administered in upright booths lined with fluorescent bulbs. UVB therapy is usually prescribed for multiple days per week for multiple weeks.

Your provider will prescribe the intervals most appropriate for you.

PUVA stands for psoralens + ultraviolet A light (a specific spectrum of light). PUVA uses light exposure in combination with the oral or topical medication, psoralens. Psoralens increases the skin's sensitivity to UV light and thus improves the effectiveness of UV light therapy. PUVA is used to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, puritus (itching) and sometimes atopic dermatitis and other less common light-responsive disorders. Treatments can be given in an upright booth to the entire body or can be limited to isolated areas such as the hands and feet.

The excimer laser is a specially designed laser that produces a specific wavelength of ultraviolet B light nearly identical to the narrow-band UVB delivered in our upright booths. A hand-held wand allows precise treatment of affected skin in individuals with psoriasis or vitiligo. Potential advantages of excimer laser treatment are more rapid improvement, longer remission times compared to topical creams, and avoidance of unnecessary exposure to healthy, unaffected skin.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the activation of a photosensitizing drug by a visible light source. Precancerous or cancerous skin cells take up and retain the drug better and longer than normal cells allowing selective destruction of those cells upon exposure to the light source. PDT is most commonly used for the treatment of actinic keratosis, acne, skin cancer and sometimes for cosmetic improvement of the skin. 

Your treatment will consist of three steps. First, a light-sensitizing medication (photosensitizer) is applied to the area to be treated. Second, there is a waiting period for the medication to be absorbed by the targeted cells to make them sensitive to light. Finally, the target tissue is exposed to a specific wavelength of light that then activates the photosensitizing medication. To learn more about the PDT we offer (Levulan Kerastick and the BLU-U Blue Light Illuminator) please visit the Levulan website.

Learn more about Actinic Keratoses.

Grenz ray treatment is an option for patients with psoriasis, hand eczema, allergic contact dermatitis and many other less common conditions that fail to respond to other therapeutic options. Although Grenz ray treatment is a form of radiation, it is delivered at very low doses and does not penetrate beyond the upper layers of the skin. Grenz ray treatment is similar to ultraviolet radiation but should not be confused with radiation therapy.