Phototherapy and Photodynamic Therapy

Phototherapy is the use of specific types of light treatment to treat skin conditions.

To treat a wide array of conditions in a safe and effective manner with minimal side effects, we offer:

Excimer phototherapy

Excimer is targeted phototherapy using 308nm UVB radiation.

We use a handheld device to treat the affected area and treat hard-to-reach areas, such as the ears or groin.

We use this therapy often for the treatment of vitiligo and localized psoriasis. This treatment requires 2 to 3 sessions in the office per week.

Narrowband UVB phototherapy

Narrowband UVB standup unit
Narrowband UVB standup unit

Narrowband UVB is the most common form of phototherapy to treat skin diseases such as:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Cutaneous lymphomas
  • Pruritus (Itch)
  • Psoriasis
  • Vitiligo

This light therapy uses a specific type of ultraviolet radiation that is 311 to 312 nm. In the office, we treat you in a standup narrowband unit. You wear eye shields and cover areas of the skin that are not affected. Typically, you will receive treatment 2 to 3 times a week.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

PDT is a field treatment for precancerous lesions called Actinic Keratosis (AKs).

We perform this treatment as an in-office procedure. We apply a topical treatment to the skin of the affected areas, which is left on for approximately 30 minutes or more. We then follow it with blue or red light therapy.

The goal of this treatment is to decrease the need for more invasive treatments, such as surgery or cryotherapy.

This video describes the basics of photodynamic therapy treatment. It is performed as an in-office procedure.

UVA photochemotherapy

UVA hand and feet unit
UVA hand and feet unit

UVA photochemotherapy, known as PUVA, is a light therapy that combines long ultraviolet radiation (UVA) with a photosensitizing agent called Psoralen.

Psoralens are compounds found in many plants which make the skin temporarily sensitive to UVA. This compound has been used since ancient times to treat skin disease.

Medicine psoralens include:

  • 5-methoxypsoralen
  • Methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen)
  • Trisoralen

We treat the affected area after application of the psoralen and incubation. In dermatology, we offer localized PUVA for hand and feet eczema and psoriasis. Common side effects are burning, sunburn-like reactions, and localized itching.