Light therapy is a safe and effective treatment that can address several skin concerns. So, how do you know if this popular service is right for you? This guide will break down the basics of this cosmetic dermatology treatment and how your dermatologist will determine if you’re a candidate.
Light therapy, also called phototherapy, uses fluorescent light bulbs, halogen lights, LED lights, and sunlight to slow down the growth of skin cells. By slowing down this growth, the treatment reduces the size of skin lesions. Dermatologists often recommend light therapy for vitiligo, psoriasis, eczema, and other types of atopic dermatitis.
During the treatment, a dermatologist targets a specific area of the skin. However, individuals with psoriasis plaques or eczema in multiple areas will benefit from light box therapy, which delivers full-body exposure. There are two main types of light therapies:
UVB Light: UVB light treatment is effective at clearing psoriasis plaques, as well as eczema and dermatitis rashes. This type of light therapy has also shown to treat vitiligo and can be an alternative to PUVA phototherapy treatment. The UVB light causes less burning then some other types of light therapy, while providing faster results.
XTRAC Laser: Another effective form of light therapy, XTRAC laser treatments can address psoriasis. This method can deliver results in 10 to 12 sessions when used as a psoriasis treatment. Dermatologists also recommend this therapy as a vitiligo treatment, especially when targeting patches on the face, scalp, and neck.
Your dermatologist may recommend that you schedule several treatments per week, especially at the beginning of your treatment plan. However, your specific appointment schedule will depend on your skin needs.
Light therapy is safe and painless. However, you may experience sunburn-like symptoms and blistering on the treated area. Some clients will experience an increase in pigmentation, so be sure to talk to your dermatologist if you have any concerns. Applying an unscented moisturizer and SPF can protect your skin and help control irritation.
The best way to know whether light therapy is the right treatment for you is to talk to your dermatologist. If you have psoriasis, eczema, or atopic dermatitis, the doctor may want to try a topical treatment or other medication first. Creams, shampoos, and coal tar are just some of the topicals available for these conditions. Much like laser treatments, light therapies are often best when other treatments aren’t effective.
If you have vitiligo, your dermatologist may recommend light therapy right away. This is because vitiligo can be difficult to clear, and light therapy has shown to be effective at reducing or even clearing patches.
The team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists are proud to offer light therapies among our cosmetic services. Our skin experts are available to discuss your skin concerns and determine whether you’re a candidate for this treatment. With locations in Redondo Beach, CA and other communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, we also offer medical and surgical services to support your skin health. Contact us today to book an appointment.