Using Phototherapy and Lotions… The Do’s and Don’ts

The symptoms of psoriasis can leave the skin dry, scaly, and itchy, and it is natural for patients to want to soothe these symptoms with an over-the-counter lotion. However, when utilizing phototherapy, we recommend a few helpful tips to prevent the lotion from doing more harm than good.

DON’T: 

  • The Sunscreen Effect  If a patient applies lotion prior to a phototherapy treatment, it is imperative for them to understand that some lotions actually contain UV absorbing ingredients similar to those used in sunscreens and may in fact block much of the benefit of their treatment.
  • Beware of Photosensitizers  With the use of natural products on the uptrend, there is the possibility that the lotion being used might contain photosensitizing agents or essential oils such as lime, lemon or orange. Such ingredients could cause an unexpected erythemal reaction when exposed to the ultraviolet energy delivered during a phototherapy treatment.  For a detailed list of photosensitizers, visit this link: https://www.daavlin.com/dont-see-red-know-these-photosensitizers/

DO: 

  • Let the Light In  It may be helpful to apply mineral oil (rather than lotion) to scaly psoriasis plaques immediately before each phototherapy treatment as it can enhance the light’s ability to penetrate through the plaque.
  • Timing is Everything   Using a moisturizer is beneficial, but post-treatment application of the lotion is far less likely to interfere with the effectiveness of phototherapy.  So, encourage patients to use these after therapy, or on the days between, but have them refrain from applying them in the hours before their phototherapy treatment.

In short, by following a few easy guidelines, phototherapy patients can use lotions to provide comfort while ensuring safety and maximum phototherapeutic effectiveness.  For more information about phototherapy, contact Daavlin at 419.636.6304 or [email protected] today!