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Phototherapy, also called light therapy, means treatment with a special kind of light. It is prescribed to treat atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.
The most common type of phototherapy used to treat eczema is narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) light. This uses a special machine to emit UVB light, which is the best part of natural sunlight for treating eczema.
Broadband UVB phototherapy, PUVA (Psoralen and UVA), and UVA1 are other forms of phototherapy that may be used in special circumstances to treat eczema.
Phototherapy helps to:
Phototherapy is used for eczema that is all over the body (widespread) or for localized eczema (such as hands and feet) that has not gotten better with topical treatments.
About 70% of people with eczema get better with phototherapy. Some people find that phototherapy puts their eczema in a “remittive” or “quiet” state long past the end of the treatment.
Overall, phototherapy is considered safe. Known risks of phototherapy include: