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What Is Light Therapy, and Is it Right for You?

Light therapy can help with many different skin conditions. The most common conditions treated by light therapy are psoriasis and vitiligo. Whether you have a mild or severe case of either, light therapy can help your self-esteem and confidence with the results it provides. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can diagnose psoriasis and vitiligo as well as provide your light therapy treatments. Learn more about light therapy below to see if it is right for you.

What to Know About Psoriasis and Light Therapy

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common, but not contagious, skin condition that results in thick, inflamed and red patches of skin. It typically appears on the scalp, elbows, knees, arms or legs and appears on both sides of your body. Some cases are mild, and others are severe, making it extremely noticeable, uncomfortable and in some cases, embarrassing.

Psoriasis is caused by an abnormality in your white cells. This abnormality causes the skin to rapidly shed which is why you will see thick, scaly, red patches. If you have psoriasis, triggers such as anxiety and stress can cause flare ups. In other cases, psoriasis can appear all the time. Once symptoms begin to appear, reach out to a dermatologist to diagnose it. The quicker it is diagnosed the faster treatment can begin. Fortunately, through light therapy, you can find some relief.

What Is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin condition where the skin loses its natural pigmentation (melanin) resulting in white spots appearing on the body. Melanin is what gives our skin its color. The white spots may be contained to one area of the body but could also appear over the entire body. You also may experience premature whitening or graying of your hair or loss of color in the tissues in your mouth and nose. Vitiligo can occur on any gender and any skin type and skin color and is often the result of an autoimmune disorder. Using light therapy, color in your skin can be restored.

Is Light Therapy Right for You?

There are different light therapy treatments available based on the results you are looking for as well as the severity of your skin condition. You may need to try different options to see what works best for your skin and the results you would like to achieve.

The first type of light therapy treatment includes an excimer laser. A focused laser beam is used to focus on smaller areas of concern. It helps to minimize the appearance of vitiligo and psoriasis and restore pigmentation. Another type of light therapy is narrowband UVB. It uses ultraviolet (UV) light to slow the rapid growth of skin cells. This option requires treatment 2-3 times per week. This will help to stop or slow the spread of vitiligo and psoriasis. Lastly, Psoralen and UV light (PUVA) combines an oral drug, psoralen, with UV exposure. The two work together to combat both vitiligo and psoriasis.

The first step of getting light therapy treatments is to diagnose your skin condition. If you are in Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding areas and think you may have vitiligo or psoriasis, complete this form. Once we meet, we can help decide if a light therapy treatment is right for you.

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