What You Need to Know About Light Therapy and Your Skin Condition

Two people holding hands What You Need to Know About Light Therapy and Your Skin Condition

Light therapy, or phototherapy, can be an effective treatment for a number of skin conditions. But what exactly is this cosmetic dermatology service? This guide will break down the basics of light therapy and what to expect following your first appointment.

What to Know About Light Therapy

What Is Light Therapy?

Phototherapy involves the transmission of ultraviolet (UV) light to the skin to limit the growth of skin cells and reduce the size of lesions. A dermatologist will use an instrument to direct the light to a targeted area. There are several types of light therapy available, including Blu-U therapy, narrowband UVB treatment, and XTRAC laser treatment. Your dermatologist will choose the best light treatment for your skin condition.

Light therapy can be an effective treatment for:

  • Psoriasis: As a psoriasis treatment, light therapy can reduce plaques more quickly and with less burning. It can take 10 to 12 sessions to see results. Dermatologists will often recommend this treatment if the skin hasn’t responded to topical treatments.
  • Eczema: Dermatologists often recommend light therapy as an eczema treatment, but this therapy can be effective at treating other types of atopic dermatitis. The treatment can reduce dry patches and itching.
  • Vitiligo: This condition is typically difficult to treat. However, light therapy for vitiligo can be effective, especially on the face, neck, and scalp. Patients may require over 12 sessions to see results.

The results of light therapy will depend on the size, location, and severity of your skin condition. Your dermatologist will tell you what to expect from treatment, as well as how many appointments you may need. Many patients will need to come in for appointments two to three times per week, especially at first. Sticking with these treatments can result in clearer skin for many patients. Treatments may also be necessary to prevent or treat flare ups in the future.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Light therapy is a safe and painless procedure. However, since the treatment involves UV radiation, you may experience some side effects. Many patients will notice a mild sunburn on the skin, which can result in redness, stinging, or blistering. You may also experience increased itching initially. An increased risk in pigmentation is also possible.

Your dermatologist will go over any side effects with you, as well as instructions for aftercare. While these instructions can vary, the doctor may instruct you to apply an unscented moisturizer to the skin following treatment. You will also want to apply SPF daily to protect your skin from damage.


If you’re living with vitiligo, psoriasis, eczema, or atopic dermatitis, the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists is proud to offer light therapy to treat your condition. Our licensed dermatologists and medical estheticians provide a wide range of cosmetic and medical dermatology services to support your skin health, so we can recommend the best treatment for your needs. We also offer surgical procedures to treat conditions like skin cancer. With locations in Carson, CA and other communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, we are currently accepting new patients. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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