What is Narrowband UVB Therapy?

Ultraviolet B (UVB) light is found in natural sunlight. It penetrates the skin and slows the rapid growth of skin cells associated with certain skin disorders. When isolated and regulated, this modality is an effective treatment for a variety of skin conditions. 

A form of phototherapy for skin diseases, narrowband UVB treatments are not a permanent cure, but can effectively control and improve these conditions, sometimes for extended periods of time. At Knott Street Dermatology, we utilize a full-length narrowband UVB booth for customized light treatment plans.

Narrowband UVB or NBUVB uses a specific wavelength of ultraviolet radiation – 211 to 312 nm. This range of UV radiation is a component of natural sunlight shown to have benefits for treating psoriasis. NBUVB can also be used to treat many other skin conditions including:

* Atopic dermatitis or eczema

* Vitiligo, pruritus

* Lichen planus

* Polymorphous light eruption

* Early cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

* Dermographism

Compared to broadband UVB, NBUVB has benefits such as:

* Shorter exposure times with higher intensity of treatment

* Shorter treatment courses

* Improved clearing of skin conditions

* Longer periods of remission 

Narrow UVB Treatment Procedure

NBUVB usually occurs in two to five weekly sessions. 

For whole body treatments, specialized cabinets with light tubes are utilized. Patients will stand in the center of the cabinet and wear protective goggles. During these sessions the whole body will be exposed to the NBUVB for short spans of time, ranging from seconds to minutes.

For localized NBUVB treatment, such as on hands and feet or small areas of the body, shorter bulbs are used. The Knott Street Dermatology staff will carefully monitor the amount of UV being used since this will be tailored to the individual’s skin type, age, skin condition and other factors.

NBUVB Side Effects

NBUVB is a low-risk procedure at the hands of the experts in our Portland, Oregon clinic. However, when used excessively and without proper supervision, narrowband UVB carries some risk of burning like with sunlight and broadband UVB treatments. Emollients must be applied to burned skin, therapists may recommend topical steroids as well. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can accelerate skin aging and contribute to skin cancer. 

There is less exposure to UV because in NBUVB only the beneficial or therapeutic wavelengths are emitted. These sessions are also for brief periods of time. Research suggests NBUVB is no more risky than broadband UVB and less risky than photochemotherapy or PUVA.

Takeaway

Contact us to schedule a consultation. Knott Street Dermatology in Portland also tends to patients from nearby Lake Oswego, West Linn, Beaverton and Clackamas.

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