The Science Behind UVB Light Therapy: How It Works

by | Jul 11, 2024

The Science Behind UVB Light Therapy: How It Works

Skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Thankfully, advancements in dermatological treatments offer relief and hope. One such treatment is UVB light therapy, a scientifically backed method that harnesses the power of ultraviolet B (UVB) light to improve skin health. In this blog, we delve into the science behind UVB light therapy and explain how it works to treat various skin conditions.

Understanding UVB Light Therapy

UVB light therapy, also known as phototherapy, involves exposing the skin to UVB light, a type of ultraviolet light that falls within the 290-320nm wavelength range. This treatment is administered using specialised lamps or bulbs that emit a controlled amount of UVB light, ensuring the skin receives the optimal dose for therapeutic benefits.

The Science of UVB Light

UVB light is a small part of the sun’s natural spectrum, responsible for producing vitamin D in our skin and triggering tanning. In a controlled setting, UVB light can have profound therapeutic effects.

Here’s how it works:

1. Reduction of Skin Cell Proliferation: Skin conditions like psoriasis are characterised by the rapid proliferation of skin cells. UVB light therapy slows down this overproduction by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the hyperactive skin cells, leading to a reduction in plaques and scales.
2. Modulation of the Immune System: UVB light therapy exerts an immunosuppressive effect on the skin. It alters the activity of various immune cells, reducing the inflammatory response that contributes to skin conditions like eczema and vitiligo. This modulation helps in alleviating symptoms and promoting clearer skin.
3. Vitamin D Synthesis: Exposure to UVB light stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in skin health by regulating the growth and differentiation of skin cells. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in managing skin conditions.

Applications of UVB Light Therapy

1. Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes rapid skin cell turnover, leading to red, scaly patches. UVB light therapy is particularly effective for treating moderate to severe psoriasis, helping to reduce the severity and extent of the lesions.
2. Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis): Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition characterised by itchy, red, and dry patches. UVB light therapy helps to reduce inflammation and improve the skin barrier function, providing relief from itching and irritation.
3. Vitiligo: Vitiligo causes the loss of skin pigment, leading to white patches. UVB light therapy can stimulate melanocyte activity, the cells responsible for producing pigment, promoting the recovery of pigmentation in the affected areas.

Types of UVB Light Therapy

1. Broadband UVB:
This traditional form of phototherapy uses a wider range of UVB wavelengths (290-320nm). While effective, it can cause more side effects, such as redness due to the broader spectrum of light. So, you must expose skin to this type of UVB for shorter time periods.

2. Narrowband UVB:
Narrowband UVB therapy uses a narrower range of wavelengths (around 311-313 nm), which has been found to be more effective and safer. It reduces the risk of burning and allows for more targeted treatment.

UVB light therapy is a powerful and scientifically proven treatment for various skin conditions. By understanding the science behind it, patients can make informed decisions about their treatment options. If you suffer from psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, or other skin conditions, then don’t panic because we can help.

Here at Skin Matters Bristol, we are committed to providing effective and personalised treatments to help you achieve healthier, clearer skin. We have a range of machines available from smaller handheld devices through to large full body machines, please feel free to get in touch with us today.