5 Tips for Beginning Phototherapy

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to begin treating your skin with light and either have your first phototherapy appointment scheduled or a brand new home unit is about to be delivered to your house. But how can you be sure that your treatment is as effective as possible? Consider these tips as you begin your new phototherapy regimen.

1. Eye protection is key.

Unless you are specifically treating the eyelid area, always protect your eyes by wearing UV blocking eyewear that is designed for UV phototherapy during your treatments. Regular sunglasses are not a good substitute as they do not block 100% of rays and can allow light in around the edges. Exposing your open eyes to ultraviolet light can result in damage. If you’re treating with phototherapy at home, be certain that anyone in the room is wearing protective eyewear and remove pets from the room before beginning treatment. UV blocking eyewear is included with every Daavlin home unit, and additional glasses or goggles can be purchased for anyone supervising a treatment.

2. Be safe in the sun.

During active therapy, it is important to protect your skin from the sun. Wear SPF 30+ sunscreen on any exposed skin to avoid accidental burning. However, keep in mind that sunscreen blocks the therapeutic light, so it must be thoroughly washed off before your next phototherapy treatment. Additionally, many cosmetics and moisturizers have sunscreen in them, so they must also be completely removed from treatment areas.

3. Establish a consistent routine.

Diligently following a treatment regimen greatly improves your results, and skipping or missing treatments can delay your progress. Ask your provider how frequently you should treat. Most protocols suggest 3 to 4 evenly spaced treatments per week. In addition, if you cover any of your healthy skin during treatment, be certain to use the same covering technique each time. Something as simple as changing from a round neck shirt to a V-neck shirt will expose previously untreated skin and could lead to a burn.

4. Reduce your dose when needed.

If you need to miss more than a week of treatment, it is important to evaluate and likely lower your dose or time. Although your physician can instruct as to exactly how you should restart treatment, the chart below can act as a guideline:

Table depicting when to reduce doses when treatments have been missed

5. Keep your physician informed of any changes in your health.

Some medications may make your skin more or less sensitive to light, possibly impacting your treatments. If you are prescribed any new medications, or even begin taking an over-the-counter medication, let your physician know you are being treated with UVB light and ask how your new medication may affect your treatment.

These are general suggestions for beginning phototherapy and should not replace instructions given by your physician. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your treatment, please contact your health care provider.

To learn more about beginning phototherapy treatments, please speak with your physician or contact Daavlin at 800-322-8546 or info@daavlin.com.