Phototherapy (also called light therapy) is the use of light to treat certain health disorders. Early phototherapy used sunlight, and its use for health benefits has been documented since the ancient Egyptians. However, sunlight is a combination of many different kinds of light, some beneficial to skin and some damaging. The technical challenge for modern phototherapy has been to provide concentrations of beneficial light while eliminating the damaging light.
Medical lamp technology has allowed us to separate the basic types of light found in sunlight and produce them artificially. The two most common types of artificial light used for skin disorders are two basic spectra of ultraviolet (UV) light found in sunlight, called UVA and UVB. Each of these can be used to treat certain skin conditions and have been used for many years. The type of light that is best for your disorder can be determined by your dermatologist.
Recent advances in medical lamp technology have enabled the manufacture of medical lamps that produce a tiny slice of the UVB light spectrum called Narrowband UVB
. This narrow range of light is very effective in treating psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo, but does not have the harmful effects of broad spectrum UVB light found in sunlight and typical UVB lamps. Narrowband UVB light is considered more effective than sunlight or topical steroids and much safer than biologic drugs, without the side effects of those alternative treatments. While Narrowband UVB medical lamps have been available for over twenty years, their widespread use has been fairly limited. However, with new medical studies continuing to demonstrate Narrowband UVB light's effectiveness and safety, the word is finally getting out and this technology is becoming very popular.
For more information on Narrowband UVB technology, please see the below link: