Some ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun penetrate the atmosphere and occur naturally in the environment as part of ordinary sunlight. The sun generates a very broad spectrum of UV light including UVA, UVB and UVC rays.
UVC rays are unable to penetrate the earth's atmosphere and these rays are filtered away. UVA and UVB rays, however, do penetrate to the earth's surface. Exposure of the skin to these rays over prolonged periods may result in sunburns.
A very narrow band of these rays, in the ultraviolet B (UVB) spectrum (around a wavelength of 312 nm), can be utilized medically for their intrinsically therapeutic effects. This "narrowband" UVB or NBUVB has the unique effect of suppressing the immune system just below the surface of the skin.
Harnessing this effect can be very useful in treating skin conditions where the immune system is overactive. One such disease is psoriasis. In this condition, the skin's immune response is overreactive.
Narrowband UV therapy can be a safe and effective way to treat and control these conditions, Like any therapy, it does require proper delivery and monitoring by a dermatologist to be sure the benefits outweigh any potential risks for any given patient.
Another property of NBUVB light is that it can stimulate pigmentation in the skin, similar to developing a tan by exposing your skin to the sunlight. This property makes NBUVB a highly effective treatment for vitiligo.
Skin diseases that respond to NBUVB include:
Eczema & Atopic Dermatitis
Itchiness (Pruritus) & Itchy bumps (Prurigo Nodularis)
Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma and others...
Park Dermatology is one of only a few locations where NBUVB is available in the Edmonton area. If you suffer from one of these conditions and wish to find out if NBUVB therapy may benefit you, don't hesitate to ask your family physician for a referral.