Can Light Therapy Help Treat Eczema?

Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions nationwide.

More than 30 million Americans have symptoms of eczema, including almost 18 million with symptoms of atopic dermatitis (that is, chronic eczema that makes the skin red and itchy)7.

The exact reasons for what causes eczema are not entirely clear. However, one consideration is that some people develop eczema due to a combination of genetics and environmental triggers (e.g., dry skin, irritants such as household cleaners, metals such as nickel, certain fabrics such as wool and polyester, etc.)3.

People with eczema are inclined to an overactive immune system response once they are exposed to the irritant5,3. The response produces inflammation, which subsequently manifests as the red, itchy, and painful skin that is common for most types of eczema3.

Is There a Cure for Eczema?

Eczema treatments are focused on healing affected skin and mitigating symptoms. While symptoms can be managed, there is not yet a full cure for eczema8. Some people can outgrow their eczema, but for some, it’s a condition they’ll have to bear with their entire adult life8.

Eczema is characterized by intense itching, thick, red and inflamed skin. Scratching the skin doesn’t help and may even lead to bleeding. Eczema can also create dark-colored patches and can cause swelling. It usually affects the parts of the body that bend, such as the inner elbow or behind the knees, but can also be present on the neck, wrist, and ankles6.

Ointments and creams are popular go-to options for treating eczema. Some also combine prescription drugs and anti-allergy medications to treat their condition. However, neither are fully adequate to treat the disease. Additionally, some therapies may cause side effects such as increased infection risk, nausea, headaches, high blood pressure, kidney or liver damage, viral infections or skin atrophy1, 11.

Can Light Therapy Help Treat Eczema?

In a quest to find a natural, alternative treatment for eczema (and similar conditions such as psoriasis), scientists have pursued research on how Light Therapy can help alleviate skin conditions. Initial results have been encouraging.

Clinical research points to Light Therapy as a convenient treatment that can help alleviate itchiness and redness caused by eczema, resolve inflammation, and make the skin look better9,4,10.

Light Therapy Can Reduce Eczema-related Itchiness and Swelling

 In one of the earliest trials that examined the effects of Light Therapy on patients presenting with eczema, researchers followed symptoms both before and after treatment9. The trial lasted for almost a year and included 81 patients. Each patient received a single, 2-minute Light Therapy session each week since consistency is vital for a successful treatment with Light Therapy.

The results were encouraging, as:

  • Itchy sensation decreased by 79% of the subjects (79% positive effect)9;
  • Skin rashes improved in 71% of the subjects9.

As with other research on the healing properties of Light Therapy, no adverse side-effects were observed during this research as well9.

How Patients with Eczema Benefit from Light Therapy?

Light Therapy can be utilized both for localized and widespread eczema, on the hands and feet when topical treatments have previously failed, or all over the body when the condition gets more serious.

Light Therapy not only helps reduce the itching10 but also:

  • Inhibits the inflammatory response in the skin since Light Therapy decreases the oxidative stress at the cellular level, and promotes cell growth4,10;
  • Boosts vitamin D production10 which helps regulate the immune system2;
  • Strengthens the skin and builds more resilient bacteria-fighting systems in the skin10.

The National Eczema Association approves Light Therapy for eczema treatment; they state that “about 70% of people with eczema get better with phototherapy [Light Therapy].” They also note that Light Therapy helps some people “put their eczema in a ‘remittive’ or ‘quiet’ state long past the end of the treatment.”10 So Light Therapy can help get rid of eczema and keep it from coming back.

Furthermore, Light Therapy can be combined with moisturizing skin treatments. The combination of the two has been reported to reduce itching as well as improve sleep problems that may result due to relentless eczema4.

Book Your Light Therapy Appointment Today

Research after research routinely shows that Light Therapy is a natural and effective way to treat eczema.

Reach out to our team via Facebook or Twitter if you struggle with eczema, and you feel like you need a consultation. Our team would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Or, if you already want to check the benefits of Light Therapy and experience relief from your skin condition, book an appointment here.

Follow the Light Lounge blog to stay in the loop with the world of science. Our team is committed to always report on the latest scientific advances in health and technology.

  1. Bruner, C.R., Feldman, S.R., Ventrapragada, M., Fleicher A.B. Jr. (2003, February). A systematic review of adverse effects associated with topical treatments for psoriasis. Dermatol Online J, 9 (1): 2
  2. DeNoon, D. J. (2010, November 30). Vitamin D FAQ: Why You Need Vitamin D. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/the-truth-about-vitamin-d-why-you-need-vitamin-d
  3. Eczema Causes & Triggers. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2020, from https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/causes-and-triggers-of-eczema/
  4. Eczema: Light therapy and oral medications. (2019, March 20). Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424892/
  5. Eczema Prevalence, Quality of Life and Economic Impact. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://nationaleczema.org/research/eczema-facts/
  6. Gardner, S. S. (2018, October 30). Psoriasis vs. Eczema: How to Tell the Difference. Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/psoriasis-or-eczema#1
  7. Hanifin, J. M., & Reed, M. L. (2007). A Population-Based Survey of Eczema Prevalence in the United States. Dermatitis, 18(2), 82–91. doi: 10.2310/6620.2007.06034
  8. McIntosh, J. (2017, November 14). Eczema: Symptoms, treatment, and causes. Retrieved February 13, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/14417.php
  9. Morita, H., Kohno, J., Tanaka, S., Kitano, Y., & Sagami, S. (1993). CLINICAL APPLICATION OF GaAlAs 830 nm DIODE LASER FOR ATOPIC DERMATITIS. Laser Therapy, 5(2), 75–78. doi: 10.5978/islsm.93-or-08
  10. Phototherapy for Eczema: Phototherapy for Atopic Dermatitis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/phototherapy/
  11. Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN. (n.d.). 5 Treatments to Help People with Severe Eczema. Retrieved February 19, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/atopic-dermatitis/severe-eczema-treatments

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