Some UV treatments involve the use of topical or oral prescription drugs and the application of UV light to the whole skin or just the lightened areas affected by Vitiligo.
Most home UV treatment today is done with Narrow Band UVB. Narrow Band UVB is applied with or without a concurrent drug therapy. At this moment the writer is aware of three "popular" treatments. You and your dermatologist will need to determine which one of these treatments, if any, is best for you.
Just the Rays
The application of Narrow Band UVB by itself can cause regimentation to begin in many patients. No drugs are applied either topically or orally by the patient. For this treatment you simply expose yourself to Narrow Band UVB rays for a relatively short time on a periodic basis either daily in some cases or 2-4 times a week as prescribed by your doctor. Covering areas unaffected by Vitiligo with opaque clothing or sun screens will reduce the exposure to neighboring areas. Here are some links worth checking out!
Pseudocatalase and Narrow Band UVB
One of the prominent researchers using Narrow Band UVB and Pseudocatalase is Prof. Karin Schallreuter. One recent publication by her discussing this is a file called PC-KUS.pdf which you can read or download from here. Please "Right Click" on the PC-KUS link to copy the file to your hard drive or simply click on the link to read the 13 page paper. You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded for free by clicking here
ProTopic and Narrow Band UVB
Protopic is a drug approved for the treatment of Eczema. There are many who have found it effective in the treatment of Vitiligo. Please click here for a page on Vitiligo Treatment with Protopic. There are many threads and discussions at www.vitiligosupport.org on the use of Protopic sometimes with the use of Narrow Band UVB.
PUVA is an acronym with the "P" standing for "Psoralen" and "UVA" which is long wavelength UV light. UVA or long wavelength UV are the tanning rays and UVA bulbs are used in virtually all tanning salons. Psoralen or other drugs are applied topically to the skin or they are ingested by the patient before UV treatment begins. UVA light is then "applied" for a preset time. Immediately following treatment the patient must wash off all traces of the Psoralen or other drug before venturing outside. The drugs sensitize the skin to UV light and very severe sunburns and blistering can cause immense discomfort and pain. The patient also must wear wrap-around UV blocking eyewear for at least one day or perhaps several following treatment. PUVA does not lend itself well to home treatment as it believed by most people that the drugs and the therapy are best done in controlled conditions. PUVA treatment is seldom recommended for application to children under twelve.
UVB and Psoralens
Broadband UVB and Psoralens have been used with some success to treat vitiligo. It is seldom prescribed today probably due in part to the fact that PUVA is believed to be more effective and since the advent of Narrow Band UVB, broad band has fallen out of favor.
There are several treatment options for Vitiligo using UV Light. Options for treatments using methods other than the use of ultraviolet light can be found else where on the web at www.vitiligosupport.org , The National Vitiligo Foundation , American Vitiligo Research Foundation and the Cochrane Skin Group to name a few, one forum managers CyberCat at the www.vitiligosupport.org staff operates "The Alternative Approach" website.
We are often asked about the Woods Light or Woods Lamp. To learn more about this please click here.