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Phototherapy at home can be an effective treatment of psoriasis

Overview

Published: 09/17/2012

by Brian Burton

When Bruce Elliott was growing up, he lived with the challenge of serious and chronic psoriasis. It is a common ailment that affects nearly three per cent of the population, and involves skin cells that multiply at a much faster rate than normal and form red, raised, scaly plaques that can be painful and disfiguring.
Like many others, Elliott discovered that creams, ointments and other remedies just didn't work. Believe me I tried them all, he says. I discovered that outdoor exposure to natural sunlight was by far the most effective treatment.
Later he discovered that indoor ultraviolet (UVB) light therapy or phototherapy, given under a doctors supervision at a clinic, worked just as well and could be easily administered in any season.
After graduating, however, I took a job in a community that didn't have a clinic, and my skin suffered so I built my own machine, Elliott adds. After constructing several prototypes, I succeeded in building a phototherapy unit that not only worked well but also met all applicable codes and safety requirements. As a result, he launched Solarc Systems over 10 years ago to manufacture his machines.
For people who have been using clinics or hospitals for UVB light therapy, home treatment eliminates scheduling problems and missed visits. For those living too far from a clinic, a home unit is really the only option.
After covering areas of skin that do not require exposure and putting on special goggles, a key is inserted and the unit is turned on. Once the timer is set and the start button pressed, the UVB lights come on. The patient turns around once during treatment to expose the entire body.
The entire procedure takes only a few minutes. The time it takes to see results varies with the individual, but typically some remission is evident after only a month, reports Elliott. More advanced skin clearing can require two to six months, while long-term maintenance can go on for years as determined by the supervising physician.

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