Types of light therapy and course of the treatment

Light therapy cabin

What is it?

Skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and sun allergy, can be treated with ultraviolet (UV) light. This treatment has a beneficial effect on skin inflammations and itchiness. Light therapy can be applied to the entire body.

There are different types of light therapy: PUVA (UVA light in combination with psoralen tablets and UVB.

PUVA:

When undergoing PUVA therapy, you need to take psoralen tablets two hours in advance to make your skin more sensitive to the UVA light in the cabin. This medication is absorbed into your bloodstream from the gut and then makes its way to the skin. After taking the tablets, you will remain extra sensitive to all forms of UVA light (so including daylight) for eight hours.

UVB:

UVB therapy takes place in a light therapy cabin with UVB lamps. No tablets need to be taken in advance.

Treatment procedure

  • You will come to the hospital two to three times a week to undergo treatment in the cabin. Usually, 15 to 30 light therapy cycles are administered (so two to three months of therapy).
  • You take place in the light therapy cabin during the treatment.
  • To protect your eyes you must wear a pair of protective goggles during the treatment.
  • Radiation schedules that depend on your skin type are adhered to for UVB and PUVA therapy. The first treatment often only takes 30 seconds. The duration of subsequent sessions is increased slowly for each session, to avoid burning the skin.

Important recommendations:

  • Always wear the protective goggles during UV therapy. Personal UV goggles can be purchased for €5.00. You can bring them with you to your UV therapy appointments.
  • Wearing the same type of underwear is preferred. This will avoid some areas being more or less subject to radiation.
  • Protect your skin against the sun after the treatment.

Results

A follow-up consultation with the dermatologist will take place after 15 sessions and on completion of the therapy.

Practical information

How can you be eligible for light therapy?

  • Treatments are always by appointment.
  • To start this therapy, prior consultation with th dermatologist is required.
  • The physician decides if light therapy can be started.
  • Appointments for light therapy are available between 9am and 12pm and between 1.30pm and 6pm from Monday to Friday.
  • The therapy is preferably not performed on consecutive days to avoid skin burns.

Checking in

  • For each session, check in using your identity card at the e-kiosk in the entrance hall of the hospital.
  • Then walk to the Dermatology Department (G3D) and check in with the secretary of the Dermatology Department.

Centres and specialist areas

Dermatology

Latest publication date: 05/02/2021
Supervising author: Dr Van Autryve Els