Lasers for Psoriasis

Laser therapy can use pinpoint laser light to target psoriasis lesions without affecting the surrounding skin.

Lasers use an intense light source that penetrates deeply into the skin and delivers more energy. This means each treatment is fewer treatments are required to get the results delivered from other forms of phototherapy, such as UVB or PUVA.

Lasers are particularly helpful for the treatment of psoriasis on the hands and feet, and thickened localized plaques that may be slow to respond to topical treatments, such as corticosteroids.

Types of Lasers for Psoriasis

There are two main types of lasers used for psoriasis:

Excimer laser (XTRAC)

The Excimer laser targets a beam of ultraviolet B (UVB) light on the lesion. The intense UVB rays trigger a slowdown in skin cell growth and inflammation.

Most patients see symptom clearance after 4 to 10 twice-weekly sessions. Treatment sessions should be spaced at least 48 hours apart. Individual responses vary.

Each treatment session lasts only a few minutes and are generally painless.

Common side effects include blistering and darkening of the treated skin.

Pulsed dye laser

Pulsed dye lasers use a different wavelenth of light than the excimer laser or UVB therapy.

The pulsed dye laser destroys tiny blood vessels in the deep layers of the psoriasis lesions that reduces the rate of skin cell growth in the area.

Patients can lesions to clear after 4-6 treatments, which last 15-30 minutes each and spaced about 3 weeks apart. Frequency of treatments will depend on the amount of body surface affected and location of lesions.

Some clearing may be seen in as early as 2 weeks, but it can be uncomfortable and even painful.

Possible side effects include redness and blistering, skin discoloration, and scarring.

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Last updated: 1/8/2019