Can Light Therapy Help Treat Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is one of the most significant problems facing dermatologists all over the world1. This notorious condition, which causes itchiness and irritation on the skin, affects over 7.5 million Americans each year4. Globally, the numbers project that over 125 million people have psoriasis6.

Treating psoriasis poses as a challenge. We can only treat the symptoms, and similar to eczema, there is no known cure6.

How to Tell the Difference Between Psoriasis and Eczema? 

While eczema refers to a group of similar skin-related conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis is a more complicated autoimmune disease (where the immune system turns against the body and attacks healthy skin cells)2,4,9. However, both conditions can lead to severe inflammation of the skin that can be painful and challenging to treat.

Eczema’s symptoms include intense itching, thicker skin, redness, and inflamed skin. Eczema can also create dark patches of skin and swelling. Scratching affected areas may lead to bleeding. Eczema can spread on the inner elbow or behind the knees, the neck, wrist, and ankles5.

Psoriasis is also itchy, and it can present a burning sensation. It causes red patches, makes the skin thicker and more inflamed than eczema. Psoriasis also shows up in skin that covers joints, like elbows and knees. However, it can further spread on the scalp, the soles of the feet, or the palms of the hands. Even worse, it can appear on the mouth and lips, the fingernails and toenails, the eyelids, and ears5.

Light Therapy for Treating Psoriasis

Finding the right treatment for psoriasis is often challenging since each body is different, and each can react differently to prescription drugs or topical ointments. That is the traditional therapy approach for psoriasis.

Nevertheless, initial scientific research on how Light Therapy can alleviate this skin condition is promising.

A 2010 trial involved 9 patients with chronic psoriasis, which, most of the time, resists conventional therapies. During the trial, patients underwent Light Therapy for a period of 1 month, with follow-up periods from 3 to 8 months1.

The trial measured significant improvements in treating chronic psoriasis. Researchers also reported that “satisfaction was universally very high” among the treated patients1.

Subsequently, another research study included Light Therapy on 20 patients presenting with chronic psoriatic plaque7. Psoriatic plaque is the most common form of the disease, affecting up to 90% of people with psoriasis, and presenting with raised areas of inflamed skin covered with silvery-white scaly skin8.

The patients were treated with Light Therapy three times a week for a month. Patients were also applied 10% salicylic acid in petrolatum, a medication that helps the scaling created from the disease to peel off. This was done to allow optimal light penetration during the treatments7.

The results again showed significant improvements among the patients, with no adverse effects reported or any pain sensation during the treatments7. So, scientific research affirms that Light Therapy is a safe, harmless, and convenient way to alleviate serious skin conditions such as psoriasis.

How Light Therapy Treats Psoriasis? 

Since psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, where your immune system turns against your body, it means that white blood cells (cells of the immune system, also known as T cells) are attacking healthy skin cells. These are the same white blood cells that under normal conditions would refrain from attacking any healthy cells, and would only attack infections and other invading pathogens9.

With psoriasis, white blood cells become overactive and cause the rapid buildup of skin cells; they speed up the skin production process by mistakenly killing healthy skin cells too soon, which in turn leads to scaling on the skin’s surface, redness, itching, and inflammation3.

Light Therapy helps to counteract those overactive cells and reduces inflammation. It works best for reducing symptoms of mild to moderate psoriasis3. Patients who present with more severe psoriasis will benefit from a combination of treatments that include Light Therapy3.

Want to Check the Benefits of Light Therapy Yourself?

If you want to experience relief from your skin condition, book your Light Therapy appointment now.

Our team would be happy to hear from you and educate you on the options for your condition. So if you struggle with psoriasis or a similar skin condition, feel free to reach out via Facebook or Twitter.

The Light Lounge Resource Center sources its data and research from world-renowned peer-reviewed journals. Follow our blog to get the latest updates on health and science news, and see what the world’s best researchers have to say on Light Therapy (photobiomodulation treatment).

  1. Ablon, G. (2010). Combination 830-nm and 633-nm Light-Emitting Diode Phototherapy Shows Promise in the Treatment of Recalcitrant Psoriasis: Preliminary Findings. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, 28(1), 141–146. doi: 10.1089/pho.2009.2484
  2. Eczema Prevalence, Quality of Life and Economic Impact. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://nationaleczema.org/research/eczema-facts/
  3. Everything You Need to Know About Psoriasis. (n.d.) Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis
  4. Facts and Statistics About Psoriasis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/facts-statistics-infographic
  5. 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
  6. Is There A Cure for Psoriasis? (2014, January). Retrieved February 13, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/42285-psoriasis-skin-treatment-cure.html
  7. Kleinpenning, M., Otero, M., Erp, P. V., Gerritsen, M., & Kerkhof, P. V. D. (2011). Efficacy of blue light vs. red light in the treatment of psoriasis: a double-blind, randomized comparative study. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 26(2), 219–225. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.04039.x
  8. Psoriasis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psoriasis
  9. White blood cell. (2020, January 22). Retrieved February 9, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_blood_cell

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