Have you ever wondered about how to treat psoriasis? Tanning treatment for this chronic condition is gaining popularity because of its accessibility. Anyone can head to a nearby tanning salon with an ultraviolet B bed and undergo a session! Dermatologists use this treatment, but there are risks involved as discussed in this article by Livestrong.
— JP M (@JonnieTwoSox217) January 20, 2013
How to Treat Psoriasis | Tanning as Therapy for the Skin
Light therapy that uses energy from the ultraviolet B, or UVB, spectrum is an effective treatment for psoriasis symptoms, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. UVB achieves its effects by penetrating your skin’s surface and slowing the growth of cells affected by psoriasis-related changes. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may receive UVB treatments under controlled conditions in a doctor’s office or at home under a doctor’s explicit treatment guidelines. In some cases, you may use devices designed to produce UVB light; in others, you may use specific doses of sunlight, which contains UVB energy.
There are certain aspects of the treatment that can be replicated in a tanning session. A dermatologist uses a phototherapy unit to expose the damaged skin to low-level UVB doses. The UVB, in turn, encourages healthy turnover of new skin. This form of therapy is an alternative to topical treatments for psoriasis.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition with many easy-to-spot signs. Most types of psoriasis flare-up in cycles. Often, a person would experience their symptoms a few weeks or months at a time. After these flare-ups, these symptoms would then subside for a period of time. Indicators of psoriasis include the following symptoms:
- Patches of Red and Irritated Skin – These patches have loose silvery scales covering them. If left untreated, they can either crack or bleed. It is this scaly type of rash that is a characteristic of psoriasis.
- Discolored Fingernails or Toenails – Nails can crumble and detach from the nail bed.
- Flaky Scalp – People tend to mistake a psoriatic scalp with a simple case of dandruff. Because of this, they tend to be unable to stop their scalp from flaking off with medicated shampoos. The difference between psoriasis and dandruff is psoriasis is yellowish in color and consists of larger flakes.
- Painful or Swollen Joints – Among the several different types of psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis. This involves problems with joints. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 10%-30% of psoriatic patients experience arthritic symptoms.
Types of Psoriasis
There are different types of psoriasis which present a variety of symptoms. If you struggle with psoriasis, it is important to pinpoint which specific type you have in order to learn how to manage and treat it. To help you understand this chronic condition and its subtypes, here is a comprehensive list illustrating their key differences:
This form of psoriasis is the most common type. Plaque psoriasis causes dry and red skin lesions that also include a covering of silvery scales. These lesions are painful and itchy. They can develop in any area of the body. Among the most uncomfortable areas where these plaques can grow are the genitals and inside the mouth.
Nail psoriasis involves nail pitting and discoloration. Additionally, the nails are also brittle and grow abnormally. They might also be loose to a point that it detaches from the nail bed.
This type of psoriasis is common in children, teenagers, and young adults. It usually develops after a bacterial infection such as strep throat. The lesions involved in this type of psoriasis are smaller and have finer scales. They often cover the trunk, arms, legs, and scalp.
Inverse psoriasis usually occurs on the skin of the armpit, groin, and under the breasts. The lesions are smooth and bright red. Because of the areas this condition affects, the lesions tend to worsen due to sweat and friction. Much like Guttate Psoriasis, Inverse Psoriasis occurs due to an infection. However, Inverse Psoriasis develops following a fungal infection.
This type of psoriasis is relatively rare. The patches are either widespread or localized in smaller areas such as the hands and feet. Pustular Psoriasis is quick to develop. Often, blisters full of pus appear just a few hours after the skin becomes red and tender. This type of psoriasis also comes and goes frequently. A person with pustular psoriasis can also experience fever, chills, and diarrhea along with the severe itching.
The rashes involved in this type of psoriasis are red and peeling. Additionally, these rashes tend to itch or burn intensely. Of all the different types of psoriasis, Erythrodermic Psoriasis is the rarest.
A person with psoriatic arthritis doesn’t just struggle with patches of red and inflamed skin. They also have to manage swollen and painful joints. These joint problems are symptoms typical of arthritis. The symptoms indicating Psoriatic Arthritis can range from very mild to severe and can manifest in any joint. This chronic condition is not as severe as other forms of arthritis but it can lead to stiffness and deformity.
Risks of Tanning Treatment for Psoriasis
The risks of tanning outweigh any benefits it offers when treating your psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) does not support self-treatment in UVB tanning salons, but indoor tanning could complement your psoriasis treatment. It is still important to pace yourself and protect your skin to avoid unnecessary damage.
Treating Psoriasis with Indoor Tanning
Tanning beds are more than vanity machines. They can be your best source of vitamin D, speed up your metabolism, and can reduce the risk of melanoma. They can also be a source to treat condition including, you guessed it — psoriasis.
Psoriasis may be difficult to control, but you can always treat the symptoms using a series of treatments that work for you. These treatments could include tanning. There is no one ultimate treatment to treat psoriasis, but it is best to listen to your doctor and talk about treatments. It also pays to go on a diet to reduce the flare-ups and have a positive outlook on managing psoriasis.
Watch this video from Psoriasis Revolution about phototherapy treatment for psoriasis.
It is helpful to understand how to treat psoriasis through tanning if you are dealing with the chronic condition. This treatment method is much more accessible in comparison with other methods. All you really need is to step outside in the sun every now and then. If you live in an area that doesn’t get enough sun, you can always visit a local tanning salon to get a safe dosage of UVB rays. Additionally, phototherapy is a natural method of encouraging turnover of skin cells and allows healthy cells to grow. Unlike other methods, it does not involve any exposure to chemicals that can potentially be damaging.
Got any more reservations about tanning treatment for psoriasis? Ask us in the comments section below!
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This article was originally published 0n November 21, 2017. It has been updated for quality and relevancy.