Phototherapy is a promising treatment option for various skin conditions, but further research is needed to explore its full potential and safety.
Non-invasive phototherapy using LED technology is becoming popular for medical and aesthetic dermatological conditions. Studies have shown that these treatments can promote wound healing and reduce inflammation. Recent studies using blue light have shown improvements in the release of nitric oxide, which helps regulate wound healing in later stages. More effective and efficient phototherapy treatments are expected to become available as technology advances. The benefits and applications of phototherapy are discussed in a review article published in the journal Life.
Narrow-Band Ultraviolet B Therapy for Psoriasis
Narrow Band Ultraviolet B (NBUVB) therapy, with a 311-313 nm wavelength, is recommended for pediatric patients with psoriasis. It has good efficacy and is safe and easy to administer. Studies on pediatric psoriasis have shown that NBUVB therapy administered for an average of 3.1 months with a cumulative dose of 46.5 J/cm2 resulted in 75% improvement with full clearance in 51% of cases. Other effective wavelengths include broadband ultraviolet B (BBUV) and ultraviolet A (UVA). Phototherapy combined with adjuvant therapies, such as emollients, corticosteroids, vitamin D, coal tar, and retinoids, has also been effective in treating psoriasis. In a study involving 30 adults with mild psoriasis vulgaris, a device emitting blue LED light promoted skin healing without a cytotoxic effect.
Use of Phototherapy for Atopic Dermatitis
Phototherapy is an effective option for pediatric patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD). Both UVA and UVB are safe and effective treatments, and NBUVB is the preferred wavelength for pediatric patients. Trials have shown NBUVB and medium-dose UVA to be the safest and most effective phototherapy treatments. Blue light has also been studied as a potential treatment for AD in adults due to its anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects. Phototherapy can be combined with topical therapies for improved efficacy and can be administered as an additional treatment, if necessary.
Use of Phototherapy for Pityriasis Lichenoides
Pityriasis lichenoides (PL) is an inflammatory skin condition that can present challenges in terms of effective treatment. However, phototherapy has demonstrated promising results in the treatment of pediatric patients diagnosed with pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta (PLEVA) and pityriasis lichenoides chronica (PLC), although research is limited due to the low number of cases. In a study involving five patients with PL, NBUVB phototherapy achieved complete success after 21 sessions with an average cumulative dose of 21 J/cm2.
Use of Phototherapy for Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma/Vitiligo (Cancer)
NBUVB is a preferred treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in children due to ease of administration and has also been effective in treating childhood vitiligo and pruritus. Other phototherapy treatments, such as combining ultraviolet A1 and UVB, 308 nm phototherapy, and topical PUVA, have also been used successfully to treat pediatric patients with various skin conditions. Blue light is also a potential treatment for vitiligo by increasing T-cell infiltration in the skin. Additionally, phototherapy has been used successfully to treat scleroderma, morphea, nodular prurigo, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, and cutaneous graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in pediatric patients. However, the evaluation of efficacy has been limited to a few cases.
Phototherapy Using Blue Light Wavelengths for Treatment of Other Clinical Conditions
Blue light has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects without causing tissue damage, making it useful for skin problems in children. Phototherapy using blue light can potentially treat various clinical conditions, including wound healing, neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, seasonal affective depression, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and acne. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and potential side effects.
Phototherapy for Allergic Rhinitis
Intranasal phototherapy using visible and ultraviolet light effectively reduces inflammation and the level of mediators associated with allergic rhinitis. In children, low-energy narrow-band (660 nm) phototherapy has been shown to improve symptoms and edema. Additionally, light-emitting diodes emit light in various wavelengths and have therapeutic potential.
The Benefits of LED Light Therapy for Skin Rejuvenation and Anti-Aging
Light therapy, specifically LED light therapy, is a safe and effective treatment for improving the appearance of photoaged skin. This therapy stimulates processes in the skin, such as collagen synthesis and fibroblast proliferation through photobiomodulation. A small trial has shown positive results in reducing periorbital wrinkles, improving photoaging and skin softness scores without causing thermal injury to the skin. However, mild redness in skin color may be experienced as a side effect. Overall, LED light therapy is a good option for individuals seeking to improve their skin’s appearance after photoaging.
It is concluded that blue, red, and near-infrared light wavelengths have therapeutic benefits, with UV-free blue light phototherapy being a safe and effective treatment option. Phototherapy can improve aged skin and is generally safe, but safety aspects need additional research, especially for children.
Kennedy, Roy. 2023. “Phototherapy as a Treatment for Dermatological Diseases, Cancer, Aesthetic Dermatologic Conditions and Allergenic Rhinitis in Adult and Paediatric Medicine” Life 13, no. 1: 196. https://doi.org/10.3390/life13010196