Phototherapy Dermatologist2019-06-11T09:57:49+00:00

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Phototherapy is a medical treatment that utilises specific wavelengths of ultraviolet light, in particular, ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths of light.

THIS TREATMENT CAN BENEFIT MANY SKIN CONDITIONS

Who can phototherapy help?

Phototherapy can help people with psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, lichen planus, generalised itching and other less common conditions.

Is phototherapy right for you?

If your skin condition improves in natural sunlight, phototherapy might be right for you. There are, however, circumstances in which we do not advise it. Therefore, a consultation and medical history is necessary.

What happens during phototherapy treatment?

A phototherapy-trained nurse will ask you to stand in a specially designed cabinet containing fluorescent light tubes that emit UVB light, for a period of a few seconds to a few minutes on each occasion. A course of narrowband UVB phototherapy usually involves 3 short visits per week for a total of 8 – 10 weeks.

How does phototherapy work?

Phototherapy works by reducing skin inflammation in many inflammatory skin conditions. It is not a permanent cure but allows your skin to clear or improve significantly for a period of 6-12 months.

What can you expect after phototherapy?

You should expect to see an initial improvement within the first few weeks of treatment. The full benefit of treatment becomes apparent towards the end of the phototherapy course.

Treatment helps people of all ages take control of their skin condition and get their life back.

CALL 0118 373 5198
BOOK A CONSULTATION

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation

FIND OUT HOW TO GET THE SKIN YOU WANT

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BOOK A CONSULTATION

How it works

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1 – CALL US
STEP 2 – LET’S MEET
STEP 3 – RESOLUTION
CONTACT MY STAFF

Give us a call on 0118 373 5198 and we’ll help guide you towards a first appointment.

MEET WITH ME

I’ll see you and examine your skin before I recommend treatment. In some cases, I can begin treating your condition on the same day.

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN

I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about phototherapy

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Phototherapy is a medical treatment that utilises specific wavelengths of ultraviolet light, in particular, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths of light.

The most common type of phototherapy I use is narrowband UVB phototherapy. This treatment can benefit many skin conditions.

I can generally determine if phototherapy is right for you and your condition based on your history and examination findings.

Patients sometimes give a history of their condition improving in natural sunlight, and this would undoubtedly be a strong indication.

The pattern and extent of your condition can also help determine whether phototherapy is the right treatment for you.

Phototherapy is less appropriate if you are unable to stand for longer than 10 minutes or if you are unable to attend regularly for treatment.

Specific medication may make you more sensitive to light therapy. You should avoid phototherapy alongside immunosuppressive medicines.

Narrowband UVB phototherapy is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, phototherapy with UVA light (PUVA) is contraindicated in pregnancy.

The type of phototherapy that I can offer is narrowband UVB phototherapy. This type is the most commonly used.

This treatment makes use of a specific wavelength of ultraviolet radiation, that is 311 – 312 nanometres.

Narrowband UVB phototherapy is extremely beneficial for many common skin complaints and tends to have fewer possible side effects than other types of phototherapy.

A course of narrowband UVB phototherapy usually involves 3 short visits per week for a total of 8 – 10 weeks, that is 24-30 treatments.

A phototherapy-trained nurse will ask you to stand in a specially designed cabinet containing fluorescent light tubes that emit UVB light, for a period of a few seconds to a few minutes on each occasion.

We will ask you to undress down to your underwear and to wear protective eye goggles.

Phototherapy trained staff carefully determine and closely monitor the dose of UV light given on each occasion. They carefully increase the dose of UV light on each occasion, to avoid the potential for side effects while providing the maximum benefit.

National protocols and many factors including your skin type influence the dose and the gradual increase of UV light.

Phototherapy works by reducing skin inflammation in many inflammatory skin conditions. It is not a permanent cure but allows your skin to clear or improve significantly for a period of 6-12 months.

If your condition recurs then we can consider another course of phototherapy following dermatology review.

Previous recommendations included limiting the number of treatments to between 250 and 400, though there is currently no limit to the number of treatments you can have. Notwithstanding, anyone having more than 500 treatments with narrowband UVB phototherapy requires annual skin checks to look for the possibility of skin cancer.

How soon can I expect to see an improvement in my condition with phototherapy?

You should expect to see an initial improvement within the first few weeks of treatment. The full effect will however not appear until the end of treatment.

I had phototherapy six months ago and my condition is starting to recur. When can I have more treatment?

Generally, it is advisable to wait around a year in between courses of phototherapy. However, this can vary depending on circumstances. If your condition has recurred much quicker than expected, that is within 2 or 3 months of treatment, then we may need to consider other treatment options for you.

What can you tell me about my risk of skin cancer with phototherapy?

Researchers identified an increased risk of skin cancer in patients having PUVA, a type of phototherapy involving UVA.

However narrowband UVB phototherapy, which is the type we most frequently use, has not been found to result in an increased risk of skin cancer as yet. It is possible that long-term follow up of patients may determine this at a later stage.

A previously proposed limit of 250 to 400 treatments with narrowband phototherapy reflects the amount thought to be relatively safe. Any patient having more than 500 treatments requires annual skin surveillance for skin cancer.

What happens if I miss a treatment during my phototherapy course?

We require you to attend on a regular basis, around 3 times a week. On occasion, missing a treatment may be unavoidable.

However, repeated or prolonged gaps in treatment may mean we have to lower your dose of ultraviolet light, or that we altogether discountinue your phototherapy course for safety reasons.

If you anticipate long gaps in treatment, please let us know before the start of treatment or as soon as possible.

Affiliations and memberships

I AM PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS

Questions and answers

RELEVANT AND INFORMATIVE VIDEOS AND ARTICLES

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

Learn more about me

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