What are the benefits of ultraviolet light for the treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis (AD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Ultraviolet light may benefit some patients.

Ultraviolet light in the UVB range may provide control and eliminate or markedly reduce the need for steroids. The new narrow band units are especially effective. Ultraviolet light in the UVA range has been used alone, in combination with oral psoralen administration (PUVA), or with high-dose UVA 1 (ie, 340-400 nm spectrum units).

A significant decline in the usage of UVA light therapy and psoralen has been observed because this regimen clearly accelerates photoaging and increases the risk of skin cancer. UVA 1 spectrum light works by reducing cellular immunoglobulin E (IgE) binding sites and inducing apoptosis in inflammatory cells and has demonstrated significant efficacy in treating atopic dermatitis. A small number of patients develop erythema or disease flares with light treatment.

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