Dermatology (Skin conditions)

Phototherapy Unit Broad Band UVB

Contact: (0191) 2824214 - PUVA Phototherapy Room

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from artificial light sources has been used by dermatologists for almost 100 years and is a widely used and effective treatment for a number of skin disorders. Choice of broad band ultraviolet B over other forms of light treatment depends on a wide range of factors including age, disease, skin type, previous therapy, current medication etc.

Conventional or broad band UVB is considered to be a relatively safe treatment, with no increased risk of skin cancer as yet having been demonstrated.

Your treatment will usually be three times each week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Once your appointment time has been decided it will remain the same for the following treatments unless you request otherwise. All treatments will be supervised by a nurse and given in a stand-up cabinet which is lined with fluorescent light tubes.

Following your consultation with the doctor in the clinic you will be able to talk to a nurse who will discuss your appointment and treatment procedure with you. All patients whilst receiving treatment may be requested to wear goggles to protect their eyes, a visor to protect their face and clothing to protect unaffected skin areas. There is no need to protect eyes after treatment.

UVB is safe to use in pregnancy.

Men should wear an under garment that covers the genitalia but also allows the buttock area to be treated.

At the first visit an arm test is performed. The test is read 24 hours later and tells us how sensitive your skin is to the treatment. It allows us to choose a safe but effective dose of UVB to start the course of treatment. At subsequent visits the increase in dose depends on skin type, disease and skin response (or lack of response) after the previous treatment.

Your treatment time in the cabinet will gradually be increased from a few seconds on your first visit, to around five minutes towards the end of your course of treatment

It is anticipated that 4-6 hours after each treatment your skin may become slightly ‘pink’. This erythema normally peaks around 12-18 hours after treatment and then begins to fade.

The nurse will ask you about this response to treatment before giving you your next treatment.

If you have been prescribed topical treatment (the application of creams to the skin) as well as broad band UVB, you will have your topical treatment after your UVB treatment. This will take place in the topical treatment area. 

A course of treatment will last about eight weeks or 24 treatments. If for any reason you fail to attend for treatment on three consecutive occasions without informing the nurse you will be discharged to your GP.

Dos And Don’ts

  • Always remember to inform the doctor or nurse if you are taking, or about to start any new medication or cream while having UV therapy.
  • Dry flaky skin will deflect the light, rendering UVB therapy less effective. On UVB days, before treatment, use only Epaderm, Aqueous cream or Diprobase cream as a moisturiser.
  • Do not use any treatment creams on the day of your UVB treatment unless directed to do so by your doctor or nurse.
  • Never use a sunbed or indulge in sunbathing during the course of treatment. Otherwise it is impossible to determine the cause and/or degree of burning.
  • On bright days, protect exposed areas from sunlight by wearing long sleeves, a hat and sun block.
  • In order to maximise the benefits of UVB, and not inconvenience other patients, regular and punctual attendance is insisted upon.
  • Jewellery e.g. rings, if worn at the start of treatment should then be worn at every treatment thereafter, as areas covered at the start will burn if subsequently exposed.
  • For the same reason please wear a similar style of underwear for each treatment.

In case of any queries please ring the PUVA Phototherapy Room on 0191 2824214 between the hours of 8.30am – 12.00 or 12.45pm - 4.00pm.

© Copyright Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2020 Site by TH_NK