In-home UVB-Narrowband phototherapy is effective because, although the devices used are typically smaller and have fewer bulbs than those at the clinic, the devices still use the exact same part numbers of the important Philips UVB-Narrowband bulbs, so the only real difference is somewhat longer treatment times to achieve the same dose and the same results.
An in-home phototherapy session typically begins with a bath or shower (which washes away some loose UVB-blocking dead skin, and removes foreign material that might cause an adverse reaction), followed immediately by the UVB light treatment, and then, as necessary, the application of any topical creams or moisturizers. During treatment the patient must always wear the UV protective goggles supplied and, unless affected, males should cover both their penis and scrotum using a sock.
For eczema, UVB-Narrowband treatments are typically 2 to 3 times per week; never on consecutive days. The maximum dose is that which results in slight skin pinkness up to a day after the treatment. If this does not occur, the time setting for the next treatment two or three days later is increased by a small amount, and with each successful treatment the patient builds tolerance to the UV light and the skin begins to heal. In-home UVB-NB treatment times per skin area range from well under a minute for the first treatment, to several minutes after a few weeks or months of diligent use. Significant clearing can often be achieved in 4 to 12 weeks, after which the treatment times and frequency can be reduced and the eczema maintained indefinitely, even for decades.
Compared to taking UVB-Narrowband treatments in a clinic, in-home treatments have many advantages, including:
- Time and travel savings
- Greater availability (fewer missed treatments)
- Lose-dose maintenance treatments after clearing is achieved, instead of being discharged by the clinic and letting the eczema flare-up again
The potential side effects of UVB phototherapy are the same as with natural sunlight: sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer. Sunburn is dosage dependent and controlled by the device’s built-in timer used in conjunction with the eczema treatment protocol in the SolRx User’s Manual. Premature skin aging and skin cancer are theoretical long-term risks, but when only UVB light is used and UVA excluded, many decades of use and several medical studies7 have shown these to be of only minor concern. UVB phototherapy is safe for kids & pregnant women8, and can be used together with most other eczema treatments.