Light therapy, or laser treatment, is a highly effective outpatient treatment for many skin conditions, including psoriasis, vitiligo, scleroderma and other dermatologic disorders. It works by slowing down cell growth and inflammation that causes skin problems to develop.
Some forms of light therapy are also highly effective cosmetic treatments and can greatly enhance the appearance of skin.
The light therapy team at the University of Chicago Medicine includes highly skilled dermatologists, some of whom have more than three decades of experience in laser treatment. Working with specially trained nurses, our physicians provide a broad range of light therapies, including:
- Narrow band ultraviolet light B (UVB) therapy, which is delivered via a light box to treat psoriasis, vitiligo and other inflammatory skin disorders.
- Psoralen and ultraviolet light A (PUVA) therapy, which combines the use of an oral or topical medication to maximize the effect of light therapy for conditions like psoriasis and vitiligo.
- UVA-1 is an innovative light therapy for many skin conditions, including scleroderma, morphea and cutaneous graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which is not commonly available.
- Excimer laser therapy, which is a highly precise method for treating psoriasis and vitiligo, dermatitis and mycosis fungoides (a type of skin lymphoma) without damaging healthy skin. This approach requires shorter and fewer treatments than many other therapies.
- Blue light photodynamic therapy, which can treat acne by reducing bacteria in the skin. This treatment is also effective against actinic keratoses, rough patches of skin that may develop into cancer. To treat actinic keratoses, the dermatologist applies a medication to the skin and uses blue light to destroy precancerous skin lesions while leaving healthy skin unharmed.