Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition affecting equally both men and women. About 2% of the world population is affected by psoriasis disease. It is a real skin disorder manifesting itself in different forms and possible to appear at any age. First the name to the disease was given in 1841 by Austrian dermatologist Ferdinand von Hebra. But historians note that even in ancient times there were some descriptions of psoriasis.
Psoriasis disease is caused by the instability of the immune system, particularly involving the so-called "T cell" (type of white blood cells). Normally, T cells are known to protect the human body from various diseases and infections. But in the case of psoriasis disease, the mentioned cells are put into action by some kind of mistake and begin to trigger other immune responses leading to the rapid turnover of skin cells.
Exposing the mentioned T cells to particular ultraviolet light wavelengths causes them to die. This process is called apoptosis. It slows down the overproduction of the skin cells causing plaques on the skin. Thus, ultraviolet therapy can help to improve the skin condition of the person suffering from psoriasis disease. As a result, many doctors use this kind of phototherepy as the main method of psoriasis treatment. Patients usually receive this treatment in specialized psoriasis clinics or dermatologists offices.
There are several types of phototherepy used nowadays in medical practice. The most efficient of them is laser therapy. It is widely used in treating limited plaque psoriasis. Laser therapy has a range of advantages comparing with other phototherepy methods. The first advantage is that the effect that laser produces can be limited to psoriatic lesion treatment. This eliminates the harmful influence on the surrounding skin surface. That's why significantly higher doses of laser light can be used for reducing the number of treatment sessions. Each session lasts approximately several minutes and is held twice a week. To achieve a near clearance about eight to ten sessions are needed.
However, patient should be aware that laser therapy cannot treat the entire body. This phototherepy treatment may be painful entailing further scarring and skin darkening.
Uvb and puva treatment is known as another phototherepy method. As a rule, they are used when patients have plaque, palmo plantar or guttate types of psoriasis. This method offers rather long-lasting skin clearance. Before being exposed to uva rays the patients are required to ingest (apply) or take a plunge in a special medication called "psoralen" which makes skin more receptible of this kind of rays.
The above-mentioned treatment period usually takes approximately two or three months. About 25 sessions are needed within this period of time to clear the damaged skin. It is important to remember that during this time patients should be permanently monitored by dermatologists.
Thus, depending on the psoriasis degree different treatment methods may be used. The last one is usually used in exceptional cases when psoriasis has widespread lesions. There are more disadvantages than advantages here. For example, it requires numerous procedures, wearing blocking ultraviolet lights sunglasses; it also increases the risk of skin aging, cancer and freckling.