UVB phototherapy is one of the most effective and cheapest treatment options in vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition characterized by loss of pigment, resulting in blotches of lighter skin. Any part of the body can be affected, including the inside of your mouth and your hair. Phototherapy for vitiligo is a viable treatment option. Exploring the details of vitiligo light therapy and before and after results can help you to determine why this treatment is a good choice.
What is Phototherapy?
This type of therapy uses ultraviolet light to increase how many melanocytes are in a specific area of your skin. Using a UVB lamp for vitiligo may also prevent the formation of new patches of skin that lack pigment.
This therapy uses the light that occurs as a result of natural sunlight. However, it is filtered so that only the specific wavelengths that work to stimulate repigmentation are delivered to your skin.
Exploring the Research
Multiple studies and reviews of the research have been done to determine the potential efficacy of phototherapy for this skin condition. One study was a meta-analysis that examined 1,428 patients across 35 individual studies. All of the studies used UVB light.
The before and after results of this therapy showed a marked response to therapy in 36 percent of patients after 12 months. At this same mark, 75 percent of patients had at least a mild response. The neck and face appeared to respond the best to the therapy.
Another study compared multiple types of phototherapy for this condition. It was determined that UVB light was stable and at least as effective as photochemotherapy, the current conventional treatment for this condition. UVB has also been shown to have a safer maximum duration.
A Typical Phototherapy Session
The exact steps and duration of a phototherapy session depend on the extent of a person’s vitiligo, their overall health, the UVB light being used and the facility’s protocol. However, the sessions can be as short as 5 to 10 minutes. If someone’s vitiligo is relatively mild, one session a week is a common recommendation. For more severe cases, you may need to have sessions up to three times a week.
Can Phototherapy Cause Side Effects?
The research shows that this therapy is safe for most people and that side effects are minimal. The possible side effects include a sunburn-like reaction, irritation and stinging of the skin. When this treatment is properly administered, most people experience little to no side effects.
Vitiligo light therapy is a viable treatment option. Proper use of a UVB lamp for vitiligo has shown benefits for numerous patients. Just make sure to follow all instructions from your doctor to get the most benefit from phototherapy for vitiligo.