A word about Phototherapy

August 30, 2008

Light therapy is gaining preference in the beauty industry. It is gaining popularity over surgical beauty enhancements in the present scenario as it is a non-invasive treatment.

A while ago, skin conditions like Atopic dermatitis, some forms of psoriasis and eczema were treated using artificial light wavelengths from the ultraviolet (Ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA), or a combination of UVB and UVA. It helps significantly in Atopic dermatitis as it can prevent bacterial infections, which are problematic in people with atopic dermatitis. It is also used for allergen-induced inflammatory diseases like allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and a variety of psychological diseases. Mostly used in adults, Photo therapy is used only in severe cases of disease in children.

Why is it preferred in the beauty industry?

Phototherapy is painless unlike surgeries. It not only rejuvenates the skin at the cellular level, but also improves the collagen and elastin production. It stimulates the skin to convert light energy photons into cellular energy. It can done on people of all age groups, especially to bring back the youthful firm skin with a smooth texture and tone. It can easily treat pigmented and acne prone skin while helping to reduce pores, wrinkles and lines. Light therapy is also used for tanning the skin. It is generally believed to be natural and safe.

There are light therapies available in the market for the home treatment for aging and other skin-related issues. These are cheaper than the treatments provided in the clinics. But are they really safe? Think along with me!

The safety issues

It is notified that pregnant women, people with allergies and thyroid problems and epilepsy should not take light therapy. It is also not recommended to people who are on medication that causes sensitivity to light. Patients with medical problems like Lupus and Porphyria should avoid photo therapy. Those with a history of skin cancer and also those whose immune system is suppressed are prone to danger. People who have minimal exposure to sun and who have very fair skin also should not take light therapy.

Light therapy is not risk less as claimed by the beauty pageants. Side effects and risks depend on the type of light therapy given. Most common and short-term side effects include nausea, jitteriness and headaches. If used injudiciously, it can burn your skin and also cause skin damage, freckling and premature aging of the skin. Itchy skin and dryness are other side-effects. It can also worsen skin diseases like some forms of psoriasis. UV light is a major cause of skin cancer. Prolonged skin treatment with light therapy increases the risk of cancer as well as skin cancer. Light therapy is a mood-altering treatment and can have adverse effects on patients with depression, if used carelessly. Self-medication with light therapy can be dangerous.

However, some of the modern phototherapy lamps are considered safe as they do not emit the fatal UV rays.

-Aparna K V

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