What is the Excimer UV-light treatment?

The Excimer UV-light is a hand-held device that delivers ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) at a specific wavelength (308nm). It can be used for treating patients with a variety of skin diseases including psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo.

How is it different to narrow band UVB (NBUVB) phototherapy?

This treatment is helpful for patients with localised disease (small patches). Instead of treating the whole body, we are able to selectively treat affected areas and avoid the healthy surrounding skin to minimise side-effects. We can also treat areas previously thought difficult to treat, such as the ears and genitals. Additionally, more intense, shorter courses may be effective.

How does the treatment work?

The exact mechanism is not fully understood, but there is evidence that it targets the skin’s immune system that is altered many skin diseases.

The Excimer UV-light also stimulates pigment cells to induce re-pigmentation in vitiligo.

Treatment schedule

You will be required to attend 2-3 times per week. 

If you have any work commitments or holidays which will interfere with attendance it is better to defer starting treatment.

If during a course of treatment you are unable to attend please notify the nurses.

When will I see an improvement?

It is difficult to know how long you will need treatment for. This will depend on your condition and your skin’s response to treatment.

Improvement is gradual but may be seen within just a few treatments. For patients with Vitiligo, small patches of re-pigmentation may appear as early as the 15th treatment. This is expected to continue to improve with further treatment sessions.  However 100% clearance is not expected.

How long will I remain clear?

It is difficult to predict how long your disease will remain improved. Some people will clear for 12-18 months; other will relapse in 3 – 6 months

What happens during each treatment?

  • The first appointment will be used to assess your skin type to determine your starting dose.
  • The impact of you condition upon your everyday life will be assessed at this visit. This assessment will be repeated regularly to assess your progress.
  • Treatments are delivered to the affected areas via a hand held device. They are short, painless and will be directed by the nurse.
  • The dosage of UV light delivered and the exposure time is carefully monitored. The dosage will be adjusted according to the skin reaction. If no adverse reactions are noted, the dosage of UV-light delivered will be increased in small increments as your treatment progresses.

Things to note:

  • Be careful with products that you apply to your skin while undergoing the treatment

                      Apply a fragrance free & preservative free moisturiser to your body at home on the day of treatment.

                      DO NOT APPLY tar creams, those containing salicylic acid before treatment; these can be applied after treatment.

  • Notify the phototherapy nurse if you start any new medications during the treatment

                      Some medications can alter the skin’s sensitivity to UV light.

  • Protect your eyes

                      You will be required to wear maximum protection UV wraparound sun goggles.
                      These can be purchased during your first appointment at The Skin Hospital ($16).

  • Avoid excess sun exposure & minimise the risk of sunburn

                      Cover up with appropriate clothing & a broad-brimmed hat. Use a daily ‘broad spectrum’ SPF 50+ sunscreen & re-apply regularly.

  • Come for treatments regularly as scheduled. This treatment is effective if attendance is regular.

Are there any side effects?

Side-effects are possible. Short-term side-effects include:

  • Burning – please inform us if you have any symptoms of burning.  We may adjust your dose at the next treatment.
  • Rash – rare.
  • Skin dryness - some people find their skin becomes drier during treatment. Moisturise regularly and use a soap-free wash to minimise this.  
  • When the psoriasis or eczema improves there is often a temporary darkening of the involved skin that may take months to fade.

Long term side effects include:

  • Premature aging – this may be seen as wrinkling, dilated capillaries, pigmentary changes and loss of elasticity.
  • Increased risk of skin cancer – having this treatment may contribute to an individual’s overall lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. The exact contribution to this risk is not known.

Monitoring treatment

You will need to see your dermatologist 4 – 6 weeks after commencing therapy. Make this appointment as soon as you start treatment.

Treatment cannot continue unless you are under your doctor’s supervision. There is a consultation fee each time you see your doctor 

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