Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease that is genetic in origin and appears on the skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. The body does not shed these excess skin cells so they pile up on the surface of the skin and result in painful, scaly inflamed patches of skin that can interfere with basic functions of life such as walking and sleeping. These patches of thick, scaly skin may be white, silvery, or red. Called plaques, these patches can develop anywhere on the skin. The most common areas to find plaques are the elbows, knees, lower back, scalp or nails. In studying the immune system, scientists discovered that when a person has psoriasis, the T cells (a type of white blood cell that fights unwanted invaders such as bacteria and viruses) mistakenly trigger a reaction in the skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious, but it is lifelong. Psoriasis varies from person to person, both in severity and how it responds to treatment.
There are five different types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic. There are many treatment options specific to the type of psoriasis and our dermatologists will prescribe the most appropriate treatment plan for each condition. Psoriasis can limit people’s activities and raise their risk for comorbidities such as diabetes and heart disease. Studies continue to show that treating the disease is the best way to improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of developing comorbidities.
What is UVB Phototherapy?
Present in natural sunlight, ultraviolet B (UVB) is an effective treatment for psoriasis. UVB pentetrates the skin and slows the growth of affected skin cells. Treament involves exposing the skin to an artificial light source for a set length of time on a regular schedule. Kuflik Dermatology uses Narrow-band UVB treatment. Narrow-band UVB light bulbs release a smaller range of ultraviolet light than broad band and studies indicate that narrow-band UVB clears psoriasis faster and produces longer remissions than broad band UVB.
During UVB treatment, your psoriasis may temporarily worsen before improving. This skin may redden and itch from exposure to UVB light. UVB can be combined with other topical and/or systemic agents to enhance efficacy, but some of these may increase photosensitivity and burning, or shorten remission. It is also important to advise your dermatologist of any medications you are currently taking as they may affect your treatment. Combining UVB with systemic therapies may increase efficacy dramatically and allow for lower doses of the systemic medications to be used. Your dermatologist will monitor your progress monthly and make any necessary changes to your treatment.
Kuflik Dermatology has been using UVB light treatments for over 30 years. We are pleased to announce that we now have a brand new Houva-4 UVB-NB light therapy machine. The HOUVA 4® system combines high-output proven phototherapy treatment with the latest technology in UV light measurement.
If you have any questions about our services, please contact us today.