Healthwise
To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Phototherapy for Atopic Dermatitis

Table of Contents

Treatment Overview

Phototherapy is the supervised use of ultraviolet (UV) light to treat skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis. Ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA), or a combination of UVB and UVA may be used during therapy.

During phototherapy, you stand in a booth that contains light tubes that give off UV light. Goggles should be worn to protect your eyes during treatment. Men need to shield their genitals to avoid an increased risk of genital cancer.

What To Expect

As your skin recovers from treatment, it should be checked frequently (at least once or twice a year) for signs of skin damage or skin cancer.

Why It Is Done

Phototherapy may be used for mild, moderate, or severe cases of atopic dermatitis in adults. It is used only for severe symptoms in children.

How Well It Works

Phototherapy with ultraviolet (UV) light can be an effective treatment for severe atopic dermatitis. Combined UVA and UVB light have a more beneficial effect than UVA or UVB light alone.

UV light may help prevent bacterial infections, which are a particular problem in people with atopic dermatitis.

Risks

Risks related to phototherapy include:

UVA produces fewer and milder short-term side effects than equal doses of UVB light.

Credits for Phototherapy for Atopic Dermatitis

Current as of: November 15, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Ellen K. Roh MD - Dermatology


Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.