Relieving Symptoms of Psoriasis with Light Therapy

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects around 3% of adults in the US. One of the symptoms is that of raised red ‘plaques’ on the skin that can cover large areas.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects around 3% of adults in the US. One of the symptoms is that of raised red ‘plaques’ on the skin that can cover large areas. Treatment for the condition takes many guises, but one that often has a good success rate is that of phototherapy—more commonly referred to as light therapy.

All About Light Therapy & Psoriasis

  • Explaining light therapy for psoriasis
  • Who can perform light therapy?

Explaining light therapy for psoriasis

Psoriasis is unique to every individual. This means that no one person has exactly the same symptoms as another. With over 8 million Americans suffering—and currently no known definitive cure—there are an awful lot of people struggling to keep the condition under control. 

While there are a variety of ways that psoriasis can manifest, the most common is that of plaque psoriasis or psoriasis vulgaris. The most usual presentation is red plaques covered in silver scales (on light skin) or as discolored or purple patches on darker skin. The most common body sites are the elbows, knees, or on the trunk (but they can appear anywhere). They can also affect the scalp or around the hairline. 

Light therapy is proven to be an effective method of reducing these types of symptoms.

The most effective form of light therapy is regular exposure to ultraviolet light B (UVB). This can be delivered in different ways, such as through an excimer laser (for small, targeted areas), larger full-body units, or smaller hand-helds. A prescription from a dermatologist or health care provider is necessary before light therapy can be performed.

UVB treatment works by penetrating the skin and slowing the growth of the affected skin cells. The skin is exposed to the light following a strategic timeline—and regularity is the key to its success. There are two types of UVB treatment: narrow-band and broad-band. The former is often preferred as it releases a smaller range of UV light, requires fewer treatments per week, often has faster results, and achieves longer periods of remission.

Who can perform light therapy?

As already mentioned, any type of light therapy for psoriasis needs a medical prescription. This means that even if you’re approved for home treatment, you’ll need the go-ahead from your health care provider to purchase the equipment. For many, being treated in the doctor’s office by a dermatologist is the most effective solution. 


  • What psoriasis relief can you expect?
  • Some cautions to be aware of

What psoriasis relief can you expect? 

Light therapy can be pretty effective at slowing down skin cell production in affected areas. You’ll notice a reduction in symptoms around the 2-4 week point and can expect remission for up to 12 months.

Some cautions to be aware of

While UVB rays are found in sunlight, heading outside and baring the affected skin areas to the elements isn’t as effective as light therapy. In many cases, sunlight treatment is contra-indicated, especially if you’re using topical medication, such as tazarotene. You should always consult with an expert before considering any sun exposure.

Tanning beds should also be approached with caution. There is overwhelming evidence that the use of sunlamps and tanning beds dramatically raise the risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer), plus they cause irreversible skin damage and speed up the aging process. The FDA, CDC, and American Academy of Dermatology actively discourage the use of sunbeds. 

If you’re considering light therapy to treat psoriasis, the only safe way to do so is to consult an expert dermatological source.

Suffering from Psoriasis? Let the Experts at Bayou City Dermatology Help

The symptoms of psoriasis can range from mildly irritating to life-changing. But there’s no need to simply put up with the misery. At Bayou City Dermatology, our clinical expertise and experience make us the ideal professionals to help ease the unwanted effects of psoriasis (and other chronic skin conditions, including rosacea and acne).  

Don’t suffer in silence. Visit now and get in touch with our friendly team to begin your journey to skin blemish recovery today.