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Auckland DHB Dermatology Service

Public Service, Dermatology

Phototherapy Treatment with UVB

Ultraviolet radiation (UV) provided by artificial light has been used with good results for a long time. It is a recognised treatment ordered by a doctor for numerous skin conditions.

Before beginning phototherapy: A small area of skin will be tested for the smallest amount of UV before it becomes slightly red. This Minimal Erythema Dose (MED) information is used to calculate a starting dose for treatment. You will need to return to clinic 24 hours after testing to measure the results. Do not use any moisturiser or sunblock on the day of MED testing.

Treatments: All treatments are supervised and given in a cabinet you stand up in. The cabinet contains vertical fluorescent bulbs.

Men: Unless the genitals are being treated we recommend men protect this area. Use a jock strap, clean sock or something similar during treatment.

Eyes: You need to wear goggles to protect your eyes while you are in the cabinet.

Jewellery: Rings, necklaces and watches must be removed during treatment to prevent sunburn to these areas.

Hair: Avoid radical changes of hairstyle while you are being treated to avoid burning.

Face: Always apply a 30+ SPF Broad Spectrum sunscreen (unless your face requires treatment) 30 minutes before treatment.

Creams and Ointments: Continue with topical creams and ointments as prescribed. Use plenty of moisturiser often.

Treatment: At the beginning of treatment you will be in the cabinet for a short time, about 1-2 minutes. Time in the cabinet will be adjusted gradually and could reach 12-15 minutes. Depending on the doctor’s instructions and how your skin responds, treatment will be 2 to 3 times a week for 6 to 8 weeks. You will have a follow-up clinic appointment with your skin doctor shortly after this last treatment time.

Possible side effects:

Burning of your skin  }
Itchy skin                } use moisturiser
Skin dryness           }

What will my skin look like after each treatment? Your skin may look mildly red later in the day of treatment. If you have uncomfortable sunburned skin, tell the phototherapy technician at the next treatment time. The time in the cabinet will be adjusted to avoid this.

Appointment times: IMPORTANT. You must always arrive on time for your treatment. The time will be the same for each treatment. There are many people having the same treatment as you each day and they are affected if you are late. If you frequently do not come and do not contact us, your treatment will be stopped.

This page was last updated at 12:52PM on March 31, 2021.