Phototherapy Treatments

When topical treatments aren’t enough to soothe and clear psoriasis, your dermatologist may suggest phototherapy—the use of ultraviolet light to treat your skin. Getting a phototherapy treatment involves exposing your skin to a lamp in your doctor’s office or to a special (prescription) lamp at home. These lamps range in size from a handheld wand to a tanning-bed-sized contraption that you lie on or stand inside of. Light treatments typically happen a few times a week for a month or longer. Phototherapy can also be used in combination with medications.  Tip: Protect your eyes by always wearing goggles when getting a phototherapy light treatment.

Treatment How it works What you should know
Ultraviolet B (UVB)
Skin is exposed to UVB rays generated from a special lamp or laser.
Causes reactions in skin cells that decrease overproduction; helps clear up plaques. • Broadband UVB is effective, but requires frequent treatments at a doctor's office.
• Narrowband UVB emits a more specific range of UV light and may clear psoriasis more quickly.
Psoralen +
Ultraviolet A (PUVA)

You'll either ingest, apply topically or bathe in a drug called psoralen, then undergo UVA exposure.
Psoralen makes the skin more sensitive to UVA light, which penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB rays. The combination slows skin cell growth and kills
T cells in plaque and guttate psoriasis.
Often used to treat psoriasis on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
Excimer laser
A controlled beam of UVB light targets only affected areas.
Reduces inflammation and fast-growing skin cells. Therapy requires fewer sessions, but is practical only for people with very mild localized psoriasis.
Published August 2011

Causes & Risk Factors
Your Healthcare Team
Questions to Ask
    Your Doctor

Quiz: How Severe
    is Your Psoriasis?

Never Tried a Biologic?
What Your Dermatologist
    Needs to Know

Topical Treatments
Phototherapy Treatments

Body-Wide Medications
When Your Treatment is Denied
    by Your Insurance Company

Look Your Best With Psoriasis!
Feel Your Best With Psoriasis
Your Answer to Smoother, Clearer Skin—Found!
Take Charge of Your Psoriasis and Protect
    Your Whole Body!

Try These Simple Skin-Care Tips
Quiz: Test Your Psoriasis Smarts
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