A little light treatment for psoriasis


It feels as if this winter has been neverending, with seemingly endless days of cold grey skiesSunflower and rain. I read a newspaper report yesterday telling us that spring is actually a whole month later arriving this year, compared to last year. Sometimes, I fear that we’ll never see the sun again, but at least this weekend’s lovely weather at last gave me some cause for hope that it’s still out there!

For sufferers of psoriasis in particular, this unseasonably poor weather is not great news. A lack of real sunlight during the winter months can manifest itself in the general population as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); so for some psoriasis sufferers, this can be a double blow, as surveys have shown that over 50% of people affected by the condition have suffered from depression to a greater or lesser degree at some time. If this sounds like you, then you really do have my deepest sympathy, as coping with psoriasis can be difficult even when your mood has not been affected.

So in the absence of natural sunlight (or the possibility of flying off to somewhere sunny for a short break), phototherapy or light therapy is a treatment that has been shown to be beneficial. Ultraviolet UVA and UVB light is used to penetrate the upper layers of skin, which helps slow down the growth of new skin, which is believed to be one of causes of psoriasis. This is normally done under a doctor’s supervision, or you can buy your own light box for home treatment – although it is recommended that you continue under medical supervision, as UVA and UVB light can be damaging to your skin if used incorrectly.

Whilst undergoing light therapy, your psoriasis may initially worsen, with increased itching, in response to the treatment, but it should then begin to improve. We would also advise continuing to use topical treatments and creams or gels, but again, you need to be careful when choosing these, as some may produce a negative reaction.

Of course, ideally we would all like to see an improvement in the weather, but in the meantime, light therapy may just help.

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