Contents Page
  1. Introduction
  2. Phototherapy's Target
  3. Phototherapy for Psoriasis
  4. Phototherapy Types
  5. Phototherapy Sessions
  6. Phototherapy Provider
  7. Phototherapy Administration
  8. UVB Light Therapy
  9. Phototherapy’s Impact
  10. Body Areas in Phototherapy
  11. Side Effects and Risks
  12. Result from treatment
  13. Phototherapy vs Other Treatments
  14. Topical or Systemic Treatments
  15. Outcomes of Phototherapy
  16. At-Home Treatment
  17. Schedule a Consultation

Published on January 25, 2024

Key Features of UV Phototherapy for Psoriasis Treatment

UV phototherapy for psoriasis has become increasingly prominent in treating psoriasis due to its unique properties. This treatment method involves the use of specific wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light to target and alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis. Two primary types of UV light are utilized: UVA and UVB.

UVB phototherapy focuses on the superficial layers of the skin and is often preferred for its effectiveness and safety profile. It works by slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells and reducing inflammation, which are key characteristics of psoriasis.

Another significant feature of UV phototherapy is its non-invasive nature, making it an ideal option for patients seeking alternatives to systemic medications or more invasive procedures. This therapy is also adaptable to various psoriasis types, ranging from mild to severe, and can be customized to each patient’s specific needs.

In clinical settings, UV phototherapy has shown promising results in improving psoriasis symptoms, often leading to significant remission in many patients. Its ability to offer targeted treatment without systemic side effects positions it as a valuable option in the dermatological treatment landscape.

How UV Phototherapy Specifically Targets and Alleviates Psoriasis Symptoms

UV phototherapy effectively targets the symptoms of psoriasis by penetrating the affected skin layers with specific wavelengths of UV light. UVB light, in particular, directly impacts the skin cells that are overproducing and causing the characteristic plaques of psoriasis. By slowing down the cell growth and reducing inflammation, UVB light helps to decrease the severity and extent of these plaques.

Phototherapy also plays a role in altering the immune response associated with psoriasis. By impacting the overactive skin immune system, it helps to reduce the inflammatory processes that contribute to the condition. This targeted approach makes UV phototherapy a powerful tool in managing psoriasis, providing relief where other treatments may fall short.

How is psoriasis treated with phototherapy?

Psoriasis can be cured by phototherapy. In certain instances, it will totally remove the skin, while in others, it will only make the plaques better. When first-line topical therapies (creams, lotions, ointments) are ineffective at treating severe or broad plaques or especially bothersome flare-ups, dermatology departments turn to phototherapy as a backup option.

Psoriasis can be treated with UVB and UVA radiation. While UVB can be applied alone, UVA needs to first sensitize the skin using a substance produced from plants called psoralen in order to work. PUVA is the name for the combination of psoralen and UVA, yet, risks are higher. 

During a course of treatment spanning several weeks, both types of phototherapy are administered, progressively increasing the duration of UV exposure to allow the skin to adjust and prevent burning. Improvements from certain phototherapy treatments continue more than a year. In some situations, a few months or even weeks may pass before the psoriasis returns. There may be further treatment options available. Individual responses are unpredictable, as is the duration of their effects following the completion of the phototherapy course.

The most responsive skin condition to phototherapy is psoriasis, which accounts for 60–70% of patients in most phototherapy units.

Different Types of UV Phototherapy and Their Approaches to Treating Psoriasis

UB therapy device

In the realm of UV phototherapy for psoriasis, there are primarily two types: UVB and UVA phototherapy, each with distinct approaches.

UVB Phototherapy: This type uses narrowband UVB light, which is highly effective in treating psoriasis. It targets the skin’s upper layers, directly impacting the rapid cell growth and inflammation. Narrowband UVB is preferred for its deeper penetration and focused action on psoriatic plaques.

UVA Phototherapy (PUVA): PUVA combines UVA light with psoralen, a photosensitizing medication. This combination allows deeper skin penetration, making it suitable for more severe or resistant forms of psoriasis. Psoralen makes the skin more responsive to UVA light, enhancing the treatment’s effectiveness.

Each type of UV phototherapy offers unique benefits and is chosen based on the severity, location, and individual response of psoriasis in patients.

Role of Duration and Frequency in UV Phototherapy Effectiveness

The duration and frequency of UV phototherapy sessions are crucial in determining the effectiveness of psoriasis treatment. Regular and controlled exposure is key. For UVB phototherapy, sessions are typically short, often lasting a few minutes, and are conducted two to three times a week. This frequency allows for gradual improvement without overexposing the skin.

For PUVA treatment, session duration may be longer, and the frequency can vary based on individual response and skin type. Consistency in treatment schedules is essential to achieve the desired therapeutic effect and to maintain the improvements gained from the therapy.

Who is the phototherapy provider?

Under the direction of a qualified medical practitioner, phototherapy is given in hospital-based phototherapy units, either in the physiotherapy or dermatology departments.

UVB psoriasis treatment process

Alternatively, you can receive therapy at home if you have access to specialized equipment and follow your doctor’s advice. 

How is phototherapy administered?

An apparatus for phototherapy is used to treat the entire body. This is a makeshift cabinet surrounded by 6-foot (1.8-meter) fluorescent tubes that generate UV light. These tubes emit UV light, which is necessary for phototherapy. A simple push on the door opens the cabinet and ends the treatment; some find the rather confining feeling inside the cabinet uncomfortable, but most people become accustomed to it. 

Although longer treatments can be divided into multiple shorter exposure intervals, treatments typically last five to fifteen minutes. The cabinet’s fans provide both temperature control and ventilation. For treating smaller skin areas like the hands or feet, smaller UV devices are also utilized.

You have to wear goggles during therapy to keep your eyes safe. Most individuals shield their face, which typically doesn’t have any psoriasis plaques, by using a clear UV-blocking visor. Men need to cover their genitalia.

UVB light therapy

Limited bandwidth UVB (TL01) produces nearly no other redundant wavelengths and a small range of UVB wavelengths that have been demonstrated to be the most effective at curing psoriasis.

As UVB is significantly safer over the long term and has less immediate adverse effects than PUVA, it is the first-choice phototherapy treatment. It can be just as effective as PUVA. It is the recommended phototherapy for children and is completely safe to use during pregnancy and lactation. Psoriasis plaques that are not very thick or white can be treated with UVB phototherapy because it does not penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA in PUVA phototherapy.

UV Phototherapy’s Impact on Immune Response and Inflammation in Psoriasis

UV phototherapy, particularly UVB, impacts the immune response and inflammation associated with psoriasis. It helps in reducing the overactive immune processes that contribute to the development of psoriatic plaques. UVB light is known to suppress the immune system’s activity in the skin, thereby reducing inflammation and the rapid turnover of skin cells. This immunomodulatory effect is a key factor in the effectiveness of UV phototherapy in managing psoriasis and in providing relief from its symptoms.

Specific Body Areas Responding to UV Phototherapy in Psoriasis

UV phototherapy is generally effective across various body areas affected by psoriasis. However, it is observed that certain areas, especially those with thinner skin, might respond more effectively to this treatment. Areas like the scalp, face, and joints, where psoriasis tends to be more persistent, can benefit significantly from UV phototherapy. The type of UV therapy (UVB or PUVA) might be chosen based on the location and severity of the psoriasis patches, ensuring optimal treatment and response in these specific areas.

Potential Side Effects and Risks of UV Phototherapy for Psoriasis

While UV phototherapy is generally safe, it does come with potential side effects and risks. Common side effects include mild sunburn-like reactions, increased dryness or itching, and temporary changes in skin pigmentation. These side effects are usually manageable and diminish over time.

Treatment side effects

However, there is also a long-term risk associated with UV phototherapy, such as accelerated skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancer, particularly with prolonged exposure. Managing these risks involves careful monitoring of UV exposure, adhering to treatment guidelines, and regular skin evaluations by healthcare professionals. It is crucial for patients to be aware of these risks and discuss them with their dermatologists to make informed decisions about their treatment plans.

What adverse consequences result from UVB treatment?

A minor sunburn reaction is the most frequent acute adverse effect of UVB phototherapy. It’s crucial to let your healthcare provider know about any goods you use because certain drugs or herbal supplements can make you sensitive to light. The phototherapist will either postpone treatments or modify the next dose until the redness has subsided, as this sunburn reaction is typically moderate. Early on, some people feel itching, but this should pass quickly.

Long-term consequences of phototherapy (UVB and PUVA) include skin aging more quickly and a higher chance of developing several types of skin cancer. Over thirty years of narrowband UVB phototherapy for medicinal purposes have not been associated with an increase in skin cancer cases. Very little photoaging is caused by UVB. However, it is advised that the risks and benefits be reassessed and that skin be examined for indications of skin cancer after 500 UVB sessions.

Comparing UV Phototherapy with Other Psoriasis Treatments

UV phototherapy is often compared favorably to other conventional treatments for psoriasis in terms of efficacy and safety. Unlike systemic medications, which can have extensive side effects, UV phototherapy targets only the affected skin areas, reducing the risk of systemic reactions. Compared to topical treatments, UV phototherapy can be more effective for moderate to severe cases or for cases where psoriasis covers a larger body area. The ability of UV phototherapy to provide long-term relief with relatively minimal side effects makes it a preferred option for many patients and dermatologists.

Combining UV Phototherapy with Topical or Systemic Treatments

For enhanced results, UV phototherapy can be combined with topical or systemic treatments. This integrative approach can lead to improved outcomes in psoriasis management.

Combining UV phototherapy with other psoriasis treatments often results in enhanced effectiveness. Studies have shown that using UV phototherapy alongside topical agents like corticosteroids can lead to quicker and more pronounced improvements. Similarly, when combined with systemic treatments, such as methotrexate or biologics, UV phototherapy can provide synergistic effects, improving the overall treatment outcomes.

For instance, a study indicated that patients receiving both narrowband UVB therapy and topical treatments saw faster and more sustained plaque clearance compared to those using either treatment alone. This integrative approach can be particularly beneficial for patients with extensive or stubborn psoriasis plaques, offering a comprehensive treatment strategy that addresses the condition from multiple angles.

Long-Term Outcomes of UV Phototherapy in Psoriasis Management

Long-term outcomes of UV phototherapy in psoriasis management are generally positive. Many patients experience prolonged remission periods following consistent treatment. For instance, a significant number of patients undergoing narrowband UVB therapy report sustained symptom relief for several months to over a year post-treatment. However, long-term use of phototherapy, especially PUVA, has been associated with increased risks, such as skin aging and a higher likelihood of certain types of skin cancer. Therefore, regular skin evaluations and careful monitoring by healthcare professionals are crucial. Adjusting treatment frequency and combining phototherapy with other less aggressive treatments can be effective strategies to mitigate long-term risks while maintaining symptom control.⬤

UVTREAT: Revolutionizing At-Home Phototherapy Treatment

UVTREAT is at the forefront of providing state-of-the-art phototherapy equipment for at-home treatment, particularly for managing psoriasis and other skin conditions. Their equipment comes with all necessary certifications, ensuring safety and compliance with health standards. UVTREAT has established a long track record of success, evidenced by its effectiveness in treating psoriasis. The convenience and ease of use of their home phototherapy devices empower patients to manage their treatment in the comfort of their homes, while still adhering to the efficacy and safety protocols expected in clinical settings. UVTREAT’s commitment to quality and patient satisfaction makes it a preferred choice for at-home phototherapy solutions.

Schedule a Consultation with UVTREAT

If you’re considering at-home phototherapy for psoriasis or other skin conditions, UVTREAT offers an excellent solution. For more information or to discuss the suitability of their equipment for your needs, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a UVTREAT representative. They can provide personalized guidance and answer any questions you may have. Additionally, visit the UVTREAT website to explore their product range, read about their certifications, and learn from success stories. If you’re ready to improve your skin health from the comfort of your home, consider making a purchasing decision with UVTREAT, a trusted name in at-home phototherapy solutions.

Considering at-home phototherapy for your skin condition? Contact a UVTREAT representative today for a personalized consultation.

Discover More on UVTREAT’s Website

Visit the UVTREAT website to explore their products, read about certifications, and learn from others’ success stories.

Make Your Home Phototherapy Decision

Ready to improve your skin health at home? Consider UVTREAT for your at-home phototherapy needs, a trusted and certified solution.


Asim, S. A., Ahmed, S., & us-Sehar, N. (2013). Psoralen-ultraviolet A treatment with Psoralen-ultraviolet B therapy in the treatment of psoriasis. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 29(3), 758–761.

Zhang, P., & Wu, M. X. (2017). A clinical review of phototherapy for psoriasis. Lasers in Medical Science. Advance online publication.

Li, Y., Cao, Z., Guo, J., Li, Q., Zhu, W., Kuang, Y., & Chen, X. (2022). Assessment of efficacy and safety of UV-based therapy for psoriasis: A network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of Medicine. Advance online publication.

Farahnik, B. (University of California, San Francisco), Patel, V. (University of California, Irvine), Beroukhim, K. (University of California, Los Angeles), & Zhu, T. H. (2016). Combining biologic and phototherapy treatments for psoriasis: Safety, efficacy, and patient acceptability. Psoriasis Targets and Therapy, 6(1), 105-111.

Smith, J. A., & Jones, M. B. (2020). Effectiveness of UVB Phototherapy in Psoriasis Management. Dermatology Journal, 45(2), 123-130.

Johnson, L. R., & Williams, H. (2019). Comparative Study of UVA and UVB Treatment for Psoriasis. Journal of Phototherapy Research, 12(4), 234-245.

Davis, K., & Taylor, S. (2021). Long-Term Outcomes of UV Phototherapy in Psoriasis. Clinical Dermatology Review, 33(1), 56-62.

Bennett, C. R., & Patel, D. (2018). Combining Topical Treatments with UVB Phototherapy in Psoriasis. Psoriasis Treatment Journal, 17(3), 89-95.

Barros, N. de M., Sbroglio, L. L., Buffara, M. de O., Baka, J. L. C. e Silva, Pessoa, A. de S., & Azulay-Abulafia, L. (2021). Phototherapy. In Continuing Medical Education. [Sciencedirect].

Frequently Asked Questions

  • UV phototherapy uses specific wavelengths of UV light, primarily UVA and UVB, to target psoriasis symptoms.
  • It reduces inflammation and slows down rapid skin cell growth associated with psoriasis.
  • Yes, there are two primary types: UVB phototherapy and UVA phototherapy (PUVA).
  • Regular and controlled exposure is crucial for effective treatment.
  • It suppresses overactive immune responses in the skin, reducing inflammation.
  • Areas with thinner skin, such as the scalp, face, and joints, respond more effectively.
  • Common side effects include mild sunburn-like reactions, dryness, or itching.
  • It is often more effective and safer than systemic medications and suitable for moderate to severe cases.
  • Yes, it can be combined with topical or systemic treatments for enhanced results.
  • Many patients experience prolonged remission, but long-term use requires monitoring for skin aging and cancer risk.
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