Phototherapy for Skin Disease

If you have a skin disorder that fails to respond to standard treatments, there's hope. Some inflammatory skin disorders can be treated effectively with phototherapy. At Cedars-Sinai, these treatments are individually tailored and performed in our phototherapy unit to provide maximum benefits.

What Is Phototherapy?

Phototherapy is a type of light therapy that mimics the effects of sunlight exposure. We use ultraviolet (UV) light from artificial sources to trigger biologic processes that reduce inflammation and prevent skin cells from growing too quickly. Regularly exposing the affected area to this type of light controls inflammation and helps clear the skin.

Your care may include different types of light therapy, such as:

  • Narrowband UVB light, high-intensity light
  • Psoralen UVA (PUVA), which uses a substance called psoralen to help you absorb UVA light

Our Approach to Phototherapy

Our experts have years of experience with phototherapy, which helps many patients achieve excellent results.

Our approach includes:

Personalized Care

Our board-certified dermatologists specialize in treating complex skin conditions with phototherapy. We perform a detailed evaluation and customize a care plan for you. This plan includes the type and amount of UV light that's best for your circumstances. Read more about medical dermatology.

Innovative Options

We are one of the few centers in the L.A. area offering PUVA, including hand and foot PUVA.

Coordinated Care

Phototherapy may be one of many treatments you receive. Our dermatologists coordinate with other specialists you may be seeing, including Cedars-Sinai cancer experts. This approach lets you focus on your wellbeing.

Conditions We Treat Using Phototherapy

We use phototherapy to treat skin conditions, such as:

  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of skin cancer
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis), a condition that causes inflammation and rashes
  • Other skin disorders that cause itchy skin
  • Psoriasis, a condition with thick, itchy, scaly and dry patches of skin
  • Vitiligo, a condition where the skin loses its pigment

More Information About Phototherapy for Skin Disorders

If phototherapy is right for you, here's what to expect: 

  • Test treatment: We may first perform a test treatment in a small area to determine the appropriate starting dose of UV light.
  • Course of treatment: You may receive light treatment two to three times per week over the course of a few months. During light therapy, our team exposes your skin to increasing doses of UV light. 
  • Care instructions: We review care instructions, such as how to care for your skin between treatments, what medications to avoid and when to avoid sunlight. These recommendations help you avoid complications.
  • Ongoing treatment: Once you achieve results, you may need to receive periodic treatments to maintain long-term relief.

Have Questions or Need Help?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call the Dermatology care team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday through Friday, 8 am - 5 pm PT

7 days a week, 6 am - 9 pm PT