Living with psoriasis can be difficult and uncomfortable. There are many treatment options available including topical steroid creams, oral medications, and light therapy treatments. All of these treatments work well but have various side effects. There is another option for treating psoriasis: the eximer laser.
This treatment delivers 308-nm ultraviolet light to localized affected skin to help control mild to moderate psoriasis without harming the surrounding healthy skin. This targeted laser treatment is similar to traditional light therapy treatments but works in fewer sessions and is good for hard-to-treat areas such as the scalp, elbows, hands, knees, and feet. This high-dose therapy can effectively treat stubborn plaques, even those that have not responded to other treatments modalities. Patients typically undergo 2-3 treatments a week with 48 hours in between treatments. Noticeable improvement may be seen in as few as 6-10 treatments depending on the severity of the affected skin.
Advantages to this laser treatment include short and painless treatments, extended remission, favorable insurance coverage, and no creams or lotions are required. Although side effects are minimal, they can include itching, hyperpigmentation, burning and blistering at the treated locations. Due to the targeted nature of this treatment, only affected skin is treated. This may reduce the risk of premature aging that is seen with traditional phototherapy. The lack of systemic side effects caused from oral medications and lack of skin thinning, bruising, and stretch marks from topical steroids makes this a more favorable treatment option for patients with psoriasis.
There are many options available when it comes to treating psoriasis. Laser treatments can be very effective but may not be appropriate for everyone with psoriasis. You should discuss this option with your dermatologist to see if it’s right for you.
by:Robin Moran, Dermatology PA-C, USF Health Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery.