Phototherapy/UVB light therapy: My experience with it as a treatment for my eczema

I have been undergoing UVB therapy for the best part of 3 months now. It’s be pretty smooth sailing for the most parts and I have seen an improvement in my skin, especially my body.

Month 1 and 2 were the same, we were going up in 10-15% increments instead of the usual 20% and my skin was coping ok with this and still to this day I haven’t had a significant flare up that has knocked me back, touch wood.

So today marks something like session 18 or 19 and usually at this stage I would be holding at a decent dose. The dosage is worked out in a points system. I am unsure on what you start with but for the average person with eczema the aim is to get them up to 3.0 by increasing 20% each session, hold them there for 3 weeks, then wean them off over 3 weeks or so. Weaning off is essential for people with eczema to avoid a rebound flare. So, I only got to 0.79 and I was burning consistently so the UVB nurses decided to hold me on a safe level of 0.72. I still glow a little for a day or so but nothing compared to the sore burn I was getting on any dose above that.

When I have burnt it has mainly effected my face and has often left me with goggle marks. It feels exactly the same as sun burn, hot, sore and itchy at times. My body would also burn and after a couple of days it would calm down and leave me feeling tight and dry. Moisturisers have been the saving grace of getting through those days post treatment. I have been using double base as an everyday emollient and then when I’ve been particularly sore I’ve been using hydromol which is disgusting to use but works brilliantly!

I am happy with this decision to stop increasing as it means we have tried as best we can to get to the desired dose but my skin simply can’t hack it. I will still get the same outcome, just at a level that is both comfortable and safe for my skin. I have held at 0.72 for 2 sessions now and the itchiness at night has come back but I’m currently in the middle of a renovation where I’m in contact with chemicals and dust and also the weather has been bitterly cold which never helps!

I’m hopeful that weaning off won’t cause my skin to flare up but they have told me that there are plans in place to extend treatment should this ever happen. I am unsure about what happens once I finish and whether I’ll be one of the lucky ones who find their eczema subsides for a period of time, praying it gives me a good, long rest.

On the whole I have had a really positive experience. My nurses have been lovely and they listen to me and suggest different creams and ways of coping with the sore, dry skin. I also don’t have to travel far which is a huge bonus as you are normally travelling longer than you are in there.

I’ll finish off by saying I pushed to receive this treatment. It was suggested to me earlier on in 2020 as a possible treatment but then was never spoken about afterwards. I was clear that I wanted to try something different and steered the conversation towards UVB. If I could give any advice it would be to do your research before an appointment of the possible treatments you’d like to receive and give them valid reasons for wanting it. 9/10 if you push hard enough you will get it but it takes some gusto to say your piece in an appointment, I’ve always been a push over and nervous so I know how it feels.

Please feel free to follow my journey on instagram and message me with any questions you might have. @lowriseczemadiaries

L x

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