Are you wondering if light therapy for eczema is right for you? Or maybe this is the first time you are even hearing about it. Well before you decide, you first need to understand what light therapy is and what it entails.
Light therapy, also called phototherapy, means it uses different wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light to treat eczema. It can be prescribed when topical treatments have not worked.
There are three types of light therapy for eczema that are usually prescribed:
- Broadband UVB
- Narrowband UVB
What is ultraviolet light?
UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic spectrum that reaches Earth from the Sun. UV wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB or UVC. Both UVA and UVB penetrate the atmosphere while UVC has the shortest rays and is absorbed by the ozone layer according to Eczema.org. UV light is quite important for our health because it helps the body to produce Vitamin D.
Research has shown that natural sunlight can help reduce symptoms of eczema. It does so by reducing the inflammatory response in the skin. This is what UV light is trying to replicate.
What happens at a light therapy session?
This treatment takes place in special rooms or cabins that use fluorescent lamps. These lamps emit certain UV wavelengths. Once you are ready, you’ll need to get undressed except for underwear and goggles for your eyes. Before the start of the session, you will need to apply moisturizing oil to your skin.
Light therapy for eczema usually involves 2-6 sessions per week at a specialized dermatological clinic or hospital. Treatment typically lasts between four weeks to three months. This time frame is allotted to allow the skin to slowly get used to the radiation.
Your Doctor will determine the right wavelength, the right dose, and duration. There are many factors to consider such as your skin condition, what medications you are currently on, and other medical history-related information.
Pros and Cons of light therapy for eczema
Research has shown that light therapy for eczema can relieve inflammation and itching. This can help your skin heal but it can’t make it go away forever. However, light therapy involves quite a bit of work. You’ll need to attend several sessions per week for it to have any benefit. On top of that, depending on how far the clinic is, you’ll need to drive there, wait for your turn, apply the moisturizing oil, and then stay in the room with the UV lights.
Light therapy for eczema also has side effects you should be aware of. For example, the radiation can dry out your skin which is why moisturizing oil needs to be applied before and after. Some individuals also get sunburn-like skin irritations. Frequently being exposed to UV radiation can also lead to premature aging of your skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.
So is light therapy for eczema right for me?
Only you will know!
It’s definitely worth trying because everyone’s body is different. Everyone will react differently to it. Some people will see benefits, and some won’t. The main thing is to actually try it out for the recommended amount of time. Don’t call it quits after a few sessions unless it makes you feel ill.
Will it heal your eczema on its own? Probably not.
But can it be a great tool to help you on the healing journey? Most definitely!
Along with your nutrition, self-care routine, and anything else you are doing, light therapy could benefit you and ultimately be the difference-maker. But as I said, you’ll need to experiment with it.
However, don’t go in with the mindset that this will cure your eczema. I’ve done that multiple times with every new treatment I tried. Only to be disappointed because of my own expectations.
The best thing you can do is to stay consistent with your nutrition and self-care routine.
Sometimes it even helps to work with a Certified Nutritional Practitioner like me. I’ve been living with eczema for the last 20 years and went through topical steroid withdrawal. I understand what you are going through on a physical, mental and emotional level.
Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of guidance, coaching and support.
If this resonates with you on some level, book a complimentary 30 min call with me on how I can help you!
Everything Eczema was created by Kishok (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, 2023) to help the millions of people around the world who are suffering from atopic dermatitis (eczema) and topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). Our goal is to educate and empower you on how to manage your eczema so you can live your greatest life!Learn more