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Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is an innovative option to effectively treat many types of skin ailments. The technology uses ultraviolet light to treat conditions that may be affecting the skin on any part of the body. Phototherapy is an alternative to oral and topical medications.

UT Southwestern’s dermatology team includes physicians and nurses who guide patients through the comprehensive range of phototherapy treatment options available. Our specialists are leading experts in the many varieties of phototherapy, including ultraviolet B therapies (narrow band UVB), targeted phototherapy (Excimer laser), photodynamic therapy, and PUVA (psoralen UVA) therapy. We have the only UVA-1 phototherapy unit in the Southwestern United States.

A wide variety of skin disorders can be treated with phototherapy, including:

  • Actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous skin cells)
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Cutaneous T cell lymphoma (mycosis fungoides)
  • Eczema
  • Graft versus host disease
  • Hand/foot dermatitis or palmoplantar psoriasis
  • Lichen planus
  • Morphea (localized scleroderma)
  • Polymorphic light eruption (“sun poisoning”)
  • Prurigo nodularis
  • Pruritus (chronic, severe itching that may be the result of liver or kidney disease or infection with HIV virus)
  • Psoriasis
  • Scleroderma
  • Vitiligo

Comprehensive Care

UT Southwestern dermatologists apply a comprehensive approach to care, including the evaluation and treatment of routine – as well as complex and rare – skin ailments that may be treated with phototherapy. Treatments are based on the individual patient’s condition and long-term needs. In addition, patients are educated on managing skin conditions over the long term.

UT Southwestern dermatologists also participate in clinical trials to evaluate new phototherapy treatments. If appropriate, we provide patients access to these studies.

Notes About Phototherapy

  • A UT Southwestern dermatologist and registered nurse, who are specialists in phototherapy, oversee all treatment plans.
  • The UV light may be administered to affected sites only (hands and feet for example) or to the whole body, depending on individual needs.
  • Phototherapy is a safe alternative to topical and oral medications which can be messy, cumbersome, or have bothersome side effects.
  • There is no pain from the treatments.

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