Can UV Light Help With Eczema?
When it comes to skin conditions, we generally think about solutions that involve locking in moisture. Often, this is an ointment or cream that we can apply to the skin that will help keep it moisturized. This is really the entire philosophy behind the use of our eczema suits for wet wrap therapy. But there is one method of eczema treatment which you might think is completely counter-intuitive, at first: UV Light Therapy.
UV light immediately summons up warnings about the sun and the importance of using sunblock, because this energy is what causes sunburns and sun damage on unprotected skin. If you really wanted to come up with a way to make a bad case of eczema worse, a sunburn would do the trick. But our bodies also require UV light to create vitamin D, which has been proven to have a positive effect on eczema. So the trick is to control the skin’s exposure to UV rays, and we do NOT mean with a tanning bed.
Phototherapy is the use of a special kind of light machine that produces UVB light: the best part of the sun’s spectrum for eczema sufferers. This form of UV energy can help reduce skin inflammation, calm itching, fight bacterial infections, and produce vitamin D. For many people, semi-daily Phototherapy treatments have actually put their eczema into “remission.” In fact, the treatment has many advantages over steroidal creams or other eczema medications.
First, UV light doesn’t cause thinning or lightening of the skin. There is also no risk of Red Skin Syndrome, or topical steroid addiction. This is when your skin starts to need the steroidal ointment just to maintain normal function. Once deprived, your skin literally goes into withdrawal, leading to incredibly red and painful skin.
UV Light Therapy sounds like a miracle cure, right? Well, there are always drawbacks. Phototherapy requires regular trips to the doctor’s office for the treatment, which can be hugely inconvenient for some. If you have very sensitive skin, you might get something similar to a sunburn if you are exposed to the light for too long. Other skin damage, like sunspots, can also occur. The light has been known to cause headaches and nausea in certain people. Finally, there is the danger of skin cancer. This risk is minimal, as your exposure to the UV light would not be excessive, but the risk is still there.
Like all forms of eczema therapy, your personal mileage may vary. Some treatments can work wonders, while others do nothing at all. UV Light therapy can be a remarkably useful tool for eczema treatment and we fully recommend that you give it a try.