Pediatric Eczema Try Home Phototherapy
A childs skin there are few things more delicate or sensitive. Unfortunately, eczema can affect between 7% and 17% of all infants and children in some form, usually in the first 6 months to 5 years of life. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, and children with a family history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever are more likely to develop the problem.
Eczema and atopic dermatitis are chronic conditions and may last well into a childs teenage years and beyond. So, when contemplating a long-term treatment plan for your pediatric patient, consider the following:
- About 70% of people with eczema resolve their disease with phototherapy and many patients find that phototherapy puts their eczema in remission long past the end of the treatment. One study of UV phototherapy in children with eczema showed that the effects lasted approximately 6 months after treatment before returning.
- There are no age restrictions for Narrowband UVB, but treatments at home are less frightening for young children, who may be distressed by frequent visits to a clinic. It is also more convenient for working parents and school aged children, as treatment can take place on weekends and evenings, allowing for a consistent treatment regimen.
- The childs anxiety can be reduced by playing their favorite music, placing a sticker on the floor for them to stand on, or pretending that their UV goggles have super powers!
Research Shows Red Light Therapy Reduces Itchiness And Swelling From Eczema
In one of the initial human trials analyzing red light and eczema, researchers followed 81 patients for nearly a year, measuring how their symptoms progressed with regular treatments. The researchers evaluated eczema rashes before, during, and after patients tried red light therapy treatments. People received just one, 2-minute red light therapy session per week. Even with such a short treatment, researchers found considerable improvements in common eczema symptoms, including a reduction in all of the following:
- Gooseflesh-like bumps
- Pimples or swelling
The research team also evaluated itchiness levels before, during, and after red light therapy and found patients picked their skin less and had fewer leathery patches when treated with red light therapy. This study also noted there were no side effects during or after the red light treatments, in line with hundreds of other trials and studies on red light therapy for skin and health. For eczema treatment, researchers concluded that they consider that may become the new therapy of choice for common eczema. Consistency is key with natural light treatments, but in the study cited above, even infrequent, short treatments made a significant difference in the group of people with eczema that researchers analyzed.
Will Phototherapy Relieve Your Eczema Symptoms
Not every eczema sufferer needs phototherapy treatment. This therapy is most often used on people whose eczema has flared up so badly that they are finding it hard to get under control.
So, for example, if your eczema moisturisers and anti-inflammatory creams arent improving your skin during a bad break-out, then phototherapy may get your eczema under control in itself or get the condition to the stage where moisturising and anti-inflammatories start to work again.
In either case, phototherapy treatment may put your skin in remission for a while so you can start to enjoy life. You may need repeat treatments in the future if your eczema gets really unmanageable again.
Bear in mind that you cant make the decision to have a phototherapy treatment by yourself.. A dermatologist can give you the information needed to help you make a decision about treatment. They can assess if phototherapy is likely to improve the condition of your skin. They also need to evaluate if you are a suitable patient for the treatment. For example, if you have an immune condition or if your eczema gets worse in sunlight, then this may not be the treatment for you.
To find out more about phototherapy and to work out if this is a suitable treatment for your eczema, contact Darwin Dermatology to make an appointment with one of our dermatologists. We can take a look at your eczema and help you get it under control. If phototherapy is an option, we can treat you on site in our specialist phototherapy room.
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What To Expect From Phototherapy
When you go for your phototherapy treatmentyou will be given a moisturizing oil to apply. You will stand inside what issimilar to a tanning booth dressed down to your underwear and you will be givengoggles to wear for the protection of your eyes. The phototherapy machine willbe activated within a few minutes of entering and it may treat the entire bodyor it will target specific areas of the body. The professionals will keep trackof how your skin responds to the phototherapy and slowing increase the rayswith each treatment so that your skin does not burn. After several months thefrequency of your treatments will likely be decreased to weekly or twice aweek. With continued improvement, the light therapy will be discontinued toassess if your eczema has gone into remission. If the treatment is successfulyou will likely continue to receive treatment weekly or bi-weekly to maintainthe improvement of your skins condition.
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How Atopic Dermatitis Ultraviolet Light Therapy Works
UV light therapy works by exposing the skin to carefully calculated doses of UV light. UVA rays go deeply into the skin and are responsible for the skin tanning. UVB rays do not penetrate as deeply. However, they can cause delayed tanning and burns.
Before prescribing light therapy, a doctor will first examine if phototherapy is safe for an individual. Aside from doing a thorough skin exam, they will ask about the individuals family history, reaction to sunlight, medications they are taking, and if they are pregnant or nursing.
A person can have phototherapy in their healthcare professionals office or a clinic. People who only need treatment for certain parts of the body need to cover all other areas using sunscreen or clothing to avoid getting a burn.
However, individuals who require treatment for their entire body may need to apply moisturizing oil to their skin and stand undressed in a booth that emits UV light. They also need to wear goggles to protect their eyes.
Dermatologists determine the type of therapy and treatment dosage that will benefit the individual while avoiding adverse reactions. The length of UV treatment and the course of the treatment will depend on the persons skin condition and their response to the treatment.
The Pros And Cons Of Eczema Light Therapy
Discover why light therapy may be a good solution for people struggling to treat eczema and the potential drawbacks of this approach.
Anyone dealing with eczema knows how debilitating the disease can be. Its miserable to live with eczema it has a big impact on a persons quality of life, causing chronic itchiness, visible rashes on the body, and disrupted sleep, says Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. It can even impact relationships. While some people with eczema may turn to moisturizers and corticosteroid creams to help prevent and calm flare-ups, topical treatments dont always work for every patient. Thats where light therapy may come in.
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How Is Phototherapy Used For Treatment Of Eczema
The treatments often include the ointments, lotions or creams that can be applied to the skin that will help to keep it moisturized. This method is aligned with the use of essential oils, wet wrap therapy and more. Phototherapy has its own place in the line of eczema treatments. What is Phototherapy For Eczema?
How Is Phototherapy Done
When you arrive for your appointment, you will apply a moisturizing oil to your skin and stand in a large cabinet undressed, and goggles to protect your eyes.
The light-emitting machine will be activated for a short time usually just seconds to minutes and it will either treat the entire body or just certain exposed areas.
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Light Therapy For Eczema Does It Work
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Eczema is a very common skin condition. According to the National Eczema Association, over 31.6 million Americans have some form of eczema, which is almost 10% of the population. So if you suffer from eczema, know that you are not alone.
While some may turn to moisturizers and corticosteroid creams to help prevent and calm eczema flare-ups, topical treatments dont always work for every patient. This is when light therapy may be used as an alternative treatment.
In this article, we are going to look at eczema, triggers, things you can do at home to help manage this condition as well as light therapy for eczema. Well cover what it is and how it works.
Research Shows Promise For Red Light As A Psoriasis Treatment
A 2010 study treated patients with chronic psoriasis, which in most cases had proved resistant to conventional treatments. Researchers treated patients for a 4-5 week period, with follow-ups, and found significant improvements in psoriasis symptoms. Red light therapy improved psoriasis symptoms:Psoriasis Cleared: Patients had a 60% to 100% clearance rate with recalcitrant psoriasis.Reduced Inflammation: Red light therapy reduced the skin inflammation of psoriasis patients.Patient Satisfaction: Researchers concluded that satisfaction was universally very high among the psoriasis patients treated with red light. Another double-blind, randomized study assessed 20 patients with psoriasis. By monitoring two psoriatic plaques on each patient, one treated and one untreated, researchers were able to determine that red light therapy improved psoriasis by reducing redness, hardening, and scaling of the skin.
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How Many Phototherapy Sessions Are Needed For Eczema
Light therapy usually involves two to six sessions per week in a specialized dermatological practice or hospital. The treatment lasts between four weeks and three months. In order to allow the skin to gradually get used to the radiation, the dose is adjusted to the patients skin type and slowly increased.
What Is Ultraviolet Light
In nature UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic spectrum that reaches Earth from the sun. UV wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB or UVC. UVC has the shortest rays and is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer, so does not reach Earth. Both UVA and UVB penetrate the atmosphere . UV light is important for health but it is also responsible for tanning and burning the skin.
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Eczema Is Unsightly And Irritating But Referring To It As A Mere Skin Condition Barely Scratches The Surface Of How It Can Affect Ones Everyday Life
In fact, eczema can be uncomfortable and, at times, painful. Moderate to severe instances of the disease can even disrupt sleep and affect daily activitieseverything from school and sports activities, to work and intimate relationships.
These physical and psychological effects make finding relief a top priority. And while there is currently no cure, there are many ways to treat eczema , including lifestyle changes, over-the-counter remedies, prescription topical and oral treatments, injectable medications, and, perhaps most intriguing, phototherapy.
Along with examining the impact of eczema and current treatments, this article will focus on phototherapy and red light therapy as a promising, effective treatment for this troublesome and often difficult-to-treat disease.
Below, well review current methods used to treat eczema, as well as how they compare to photo- and red light therapiestwo promising and effective alternatives.
How Long Does It Take To Get Results
This depends on the skin condition.
In psoriasis, typically improvement is evident after about 10 treatments and it is uncommon to require more than 20-30 treatments to clear the skin. When the psoriasis recurs, your doctor may recommend another course of phototherapy. Phototherapy can be combined with topical and systemic medicines if required.
In vitiligo, effectiveness is assessed after 16 weeks or at least 30 treatments. If repigmentation is noted, it may be continued for many months but should be discontinued if progress slows.
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Light Therapy For Eczema
Phototherapy for eczema employs the usage of ultraviolet light to alleviate the damage and discomfort the condition yields. The creators and proponents of the procedure opine that ultraviolet, sometimes abbreviated UV light for eczema can be an effective treatment protocol because the energy emitted from these light waves can potentially kill the immune system cells within impacted skin regions that are thought to trigger eczema attacks.
Medical professionals believe any form of light can prove effective in combating eczema. That said, many of these same individuals believe UV treatment for eczema is most beneficial because said procedures occur in controlled and supervised settings. In fact, light therapy for eczema has quickly become a popular treatment option for stricken individuals age 12 and older.
Safety Of Home Phototherapy
Home phototherapy is potentially hazardous, as UV radiation damages the skin and can cause serious burns . Excessive exposure to UV radiation may also lead to long-term skin ageing and skin cancer including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma .
Burning is more likely in fair-skinned people with Fitzpatrick skin types 1 and 2 compared to darker skinner people with Fitzpatrick skin types 4, 5 or 6. Burning is also more likely in people taking certain including common antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Tell your physician the names of all your prescribed and over-the-counter medicines before you start treatment, and check with your doctor if you start a new medication while undergoing home phototherapy.
Home therapy can be safe if dosing is carefully controlled. Side effects reported by one study included red skin , blisters , itch , and dryness .
Safety features in newer home phototherapy units include:
- a key-locked ON/OFF switch to prevent unauthorised use
- a built-in controlled prescription timer that ensures that the equipment can only be used for a certain number of treatments as prescribed by the doctor between office visits
- a fail-safe feature that disables the unit in the event of malfunction.
Such innovations make home phototherapy an appropriate option for many patients. Response to treatment and adverse events must be monitored carefully by your doctor.
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How Does Phototherapy Differ From Indoor Tanning
Indoor tanning may seem like a convenient alternative, but phototherapy differs from indoor tanning in many ways:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves medical UV phototherapy lamps and devices. It does not approve indoor tanning devices.
While the FDA does not approve indoor tanning equipment, it can place restrictions on products deemed dangerous. In 2014, the FDA placed stricter regulations on indoor tanning equipment. Tanning beds and sunlamps will be required to display a warning label. This label must include the message that tanning lamps are not recommended for people younger than 18 years.
A dermatologist closely monitors and supervises phototherapy to minimize each patients risk.
A phototherapy technician controls the UV exposure that your child receives. This control is not possible with tanning beds and sunlamps.
The Federal Trade Commission states that claims made by the Indoor Tanning Association about the health benefits of tanning are false and misleading.
Red Light Therapy For Eczema At Home
Its possible to get the red light therapy you need in the comfort and convenience of your own home. High quality red light devices can be purchased for home use. Among its many therapeutic uses, red light therapy can also treat acne, enhance overall skin tone, reduce wrinkles and age spots, and improve skin elasticity and firmness making it a useful tool for overall skincare, not just eczema.
The key to home eczema treatments is consistency, and the quality of the device. You know the old saying, you get what you pay for, right? Most inexpensive red light masks and wands are largely ineffective because they dont deliver enough light. A small, quality device that delivers high-intensity red light via light-emitting diodes is ideal for targeted treatment of small areas, and larger devices treat the whole body for widespread skin conditions.
Be sure to check out our article on selecting the right red light therapy device to learn more about which light is best for you.
And, as always, ask your doctor for medical advice if you have any pre-existing conditions that could interfere with treatments.
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