Sunlight is helpful for many people with psoriasis. However, because Canadian winters are long, and precious summer months are typically short, we cannot rely on sunlight for much of the year.
This is why artificial ultraviolet (UV) light may be helpful. Because ultraviolet light is effective for many people with psoriasis, doctors sometimes recommend it in various forms to people with psoriasis. The most useful ultraviolet light is UVB, or short-wave ultraviolet light. It is not the light used in "sun tan parlors." Ultraviolet treatment with a sunlamp is often given in hospitals for plaque psoriasis (the most common type) and guttate psoriasis. By receiving properly controlled exposures to UVB, along with topical medications (those spread on the skin), flare-ups of psoriasis might be controlled.
A long-wave ultraviolet light, UVA, is used in combination with certain oral medications for resistant psoriasis. In severe cases of psoriasis, dermatologists may use a treatment known as PUVA - P for psoralens, plus UVA light. Psoralens are chemicals found in various plants, which can enhance the skin's response to UVA, the least dangerous form of UV light.
If you are considering UV treatment, talk to your doctor, dermatologist and pharmacist first, and follow your doctor's instructions carefully to avoid serious skin damage.
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