While psoriasis patients have been noticing improvements in the summer months for decades, only relatively recently have dermatologists conclusively linked sun exposure and improvements in skin condition with this disorder. Of course, it's easy to overdo the sun therapy and end up in worse shape than before you headed outdoors. Find out how to get sun exposure for psoriasis control without hurting yourself in the process.
The Power of UV Rays
Both UVA and UVB rays, which are already combined by the sun, work to reduce the excessive skin cell growth that accompanies psoriasis. However, most dermatologists use UVA rays alone when offering phototherapy to their patients. Since UVB rays are more effective, choosing to do a controlled amount of sunbathing each week could greatly reduce your symptoms and help you use less or no medication for your condition.
The Guidelines for Exposure
Of course, too much time in the sun leads to burned skin, increased psoriasis symptoms, and higher risks for skin cancer. The exact amount of time needed for exposure therapy varies greatly depending on your current tan level and your skin's natural pigment level, with fairer people needing dramatically less time than darker skinned individuals. In general, most patients see good effects when getting 30 minutes of sun exposure a day, preferably during the morning or evening when the rays are less direct
The Importance of Humidity
It's not just the increased amount of sun exposure that brings many psoriasis patients relief during the summer months. Increased air humidity also helps reduce cracking and itchiness. If you're going to be spending time in the sun on a daily basis to reduce your skin cell growth, consider bringing along a spray bottle or using a hydrating and non-reactive lotion product before exposure so you don't get dried out.
The Alternatives for Phototherapy
Finally, consider letting a dermatologist handle the phototherapy if you're particularly fair skinned, have a very severe case of psoriasis, or have risk factors for skin cancer. It's safer to let a doctor handle the application of specialized UV rays in the office setting so you can get the maximum effects without burning or cancer development. Dermatologists can use medications that increase the skin's ability to absorb light in the UV spectrum, allowing to get a stronger effect in far less time and with less damage to the surrounding skin. Office phototherapy visits are also targeted to only affect the psoriasis growths.