Monday, May 11, 2009
The next time you are under the morning sun, take the opportunity to expose the part of your body which is affected with psoriasis. While you may find it embarrassing, keep in mind that sunshine has long been known to help improve psoriasis. You may even find that regular exposure to mild sunlight is better than following a systemic immunosuppressive drug regimen.
The UVB Factor
There are three components of natural sunlight: visible light, ultraviolet A (UVA), and ultraviolet B (UVB). If once in a while you get sunburn after a few hours of sun exposure, it is actually UVB which is causing that. And it is the same UVB which is very beneficial to us, psoriatic patients.
Doctors usually prescribe narrow-band UVB treatment, especially in the West where natural sunlight is not all-year round. It can be an effective treatment, albeit temporary. Others may have a longer period of remission, some may not. To prolong the remission, doctors recommend that you undergo UVB treatment regularly. If you can afford it, you may want to own a home UVB apparatus to avoid the hassles of going to the doctor over and over again.
The Cheap Alternative
But if you live in a country where the sun shines almost every day, then welcome the morning sun with a smile. Mild sunlight, usually between 7am to 9am, is the cheapest psoriasis treatment. Whenever I have a flare-up I usually expose my affected skin to the morning sun for about 10 to 30 minutes a day, and it would greatly improve my psoriasis. If you intend to follow this regimen, it is highly recommended that you consult a healthcare professional first. While sunlight has beneficial effects, it may not necessarily be applicable in your case.
Photo credit: kiri :D (flickr.com)
Habermann, T. (2006). Mayo Clinic Internal Medicine Board Review. (Boca Raton: CRC Press).
Rees, A. (1997). Consumer Health USA. (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group).