At Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia, now a part of U.S. Dermatology Partners, we are dedicated to assisting patients in the Sterling area with their skin care concerns. If you suffer from psoriasis, you may have noticed that the condition improves during the summer months or after you’ve spent prolonged periods in sunlight. This is because UV light can eliminate the cells that are involved in psoriasis outbreaks and can interrupt the signal that causes the cells to grow too quickly.
Ultraviolet treatments can produce remarkable results and are an effective way to control psoriasis. There are two types of phototherapy: Ultraviolet B and Ultraviolet A.
Narrowband UVB treatment exposes the patient only to the light waves that will improve the psoriasis. Exposure begins at just a few seconds and it is gradually increased over time to several minutes. Treatment sessions are usually performed several times per week until the condition begins to clear.
Ultraviolet A treatment exposure is much longer than UVB, lasting as many as twenty minutes. It is often given in conjunction with a medication called psoralen. This is known as PUVA treatment.
Which treatment is right for you?
During the consultation, we will be able to determine which ultraviolet treatment option is best for you. Most patients require about 20 sessions before seeing a significant improvement in the skin.
In addition to ultraviolet therapy, you may be given a medication. This can be an oral or topical medication and is taken before the light therapy.
What is ultraviolet treatment like?
You will walk into a booth, similar in appearance to traditional tanning booths. The booths contain light tubes that will give off either the UVA or UVB light. You will be given protective eyewear and men may be given shields to protect the genital area.
Although ultraviolet light therapy can be extremely successful, there are some risks. UV exposure can cause an increased risk of sun damage, skin cancer, or eye damage. Short-term side effects may include redness of the skin. In general, UVA has fewer short-term side effects.
If you are interested in learning more about the services and treatments we offer, contact Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia Sterling. We assist patients of all ages in our state-of-the-art facility. We provide medical and cosmetic dermatology solutions to men and women at both our Sterling and Centreville locations. Our Sterling location can be reached at (703) 450-5959 and is conveniently located in Suite #105 at 21495 Ridgetop Circle. We accept new patients who are ready for quality, comprehensive dermatological care.