One of the most common assumptions made within the skin care industry is the stereotype surrounding sunbeds and the effects they have on our skin.
Yes, of course they can provide us with some quick colour, but does it actively improve and clear your skin? Do sunbeds help psoriasis? I’m afraid not. Dermatologists and medical professionals alike both discourage the use of sunbeds to treat skin conditions, and here’s why…
Tanning beds will often clear up the skin for a short amount of time, but once worn off, your condition often comes back worse off from the lack of consistency your skin is getting in terms of light and the damaging effects this UVA light has on your skin. Doctors up and down the UK recommend NOT to use sun beds to clear up skin conditions, because of this reoccurring problem mentioned.
This is due to the large amount of UVA light emitted over what is increasingly more important, UVB light. UVA light without medication, such as psoralen, is relatively ineffective at treating psoriasis as it primary effect is to react to skin by burning or darkening (tanning) it. This after all is the primary use for sunbeds, and yet people are still surprised to learn they do not help with skin conditions. UVA and UVB light are completely different in their effect on the skin long term.
You may be asking yourself, what is UVB and what does it do to the skin? UVB Phototherapy is a treatment dermatologists have been using for decades to treat vitiligo, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions. It involves exposing the skin to metered doses of ultraviolet light to suppress specific inflammatory reactions in the skin. When UVB light hits your skin, your immune system makes fewer cytokines — inflammatory proteins that trigger psoriasis flares. That helps to slow the growth of skin cells and therefore reduces skin conditions appearing. Some people notice that their skin clears up during the summer months when they’re out in the sun a lot.
But overall, the UVB rays from sunlight don’t work as well on psoriasis as the UVB rays from phototherapy. Between phototherapy and tanning bed units, the wavelengths used are different, with treatments measured extremely carefully and done in small doses in order to protect those from skin cancer. This is a hugely negative side effect to tanning beds.
These observations lead to the creation of phototherapy, a more strategic, targeted treatment for these common conditions. The National Psoriasis Foundation themselves do not recommend tanning beds to treat psoriasis, but instead urge the use of our phototherapy units, especially Narrowband UVB therapy as this a targeted form of light that anyone can use. It is safe for children, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and even those with weakened immune systems (ongoing illness).
During treatments, owners of these units are asked to stand in the upright booth for a time ranging from 30 seconds to almost 10 minutes. The exact duration spent in the booth tends to increase with each session, until a therapeutic effect is reached. You should evaluate your skin after each treatment session, and the time will be adjusted according to the response going forward. You must shield your eyes and any sensitive skin areas during the treatment.
Our medically supported light therapy recommended by dermatologists up and down the country is incredibly safe and well tolerated. Depending on the light you decide to rent or buy, our UVB therapy can be used to target a specific area or the whole body. The effects of psoriasis on quality of life are well-documented because of its chronic and relapsing nature. Narrow band light therapy has helped millions of people globally feel more comfortable in their own skin, so if you are looking for help to clear up your skin, get in contact with us today!