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Eczema and Tanning Beds

Eczema and Tanning Beds

Unless specifically prescribed by your doctor, tanning beds should not be used as a treatment for eczema.

What Is Phototherapy?

Dermatologists often prescribe phototherapy for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. There are several treatment options utilizing phototherapy devices including UVA, UVB, a combination of the two, or UVA used in conjunction with medication.

Phototherapy Is a Serious Medical Procedure

Phototherapy carries many risks and needs to be performed under close medical supervision.  First, phototherapy is not an optimal treatment option for all patients. As an example, certain medications can cause photosensitivity placing those taking them at risk for injury from tanning.

Some cases require that medication be prescribed as part of the phototherapy treatment.

There is also a risk of developing skin cancer, especially for men in the genitals, a risk that must be carefully monitored during treatment. There is an increased risk of cataracts developing.

Finally, there is a risk that the skin condition may worsen.

Tanning Beds versus Phototherapy Devices

Phototherapy equipment primarily emits UVB radiation.  This equipment is available for home use and requires a doctor’s prescription.  Some medical insurers even cover the cost.  The tanning bed primarily emits UVA radiation. The two are not the same.

Self Treatment Not a Good Idea

The fact that the a myriad of respected associations such as the FDA, Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Dermatology, the American Heart Association, and the American Medical Association discourage the use of tanning beds should be an indication that their use should not be taken lightly, especially when attempting to self-treat a skin condition.  The National Psoriasis Foundation strongly opposes their use as a treatment option for psoriasis and further cautions that if your dermatologist prescribes this as a last option for those that do not have access to light therapy, they should be closely monitored during the course of treatment.



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“National Eczema Association – Living With Eczema – Eczema Quick Fact Sheet.” National Eczema Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010.

“National Psoriasis Foundation – Treating psoriasis: light therapy and phototherapy.” National Psoriasis Foundation – Dedicated to finding a cure for psoriasis. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2011.

“Phototherapy for atopic dermatitis.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2011.

“Tanning and medications.” Health Physics Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2011.

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