Display Patient Information Leafelts

UVB Phototherapy

Date issued: October 2020

For review: October 2022

Ref: B-451/VM/Dermatology/UVB Phototherapy

PDF: UVB Phototherapy [pdf] 145KB

What is Ultraviolet Light Therapy?

Ultraviolet light therapy or phototherapy, involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet(UVB) light on a regular basis and under nursing supervision.

You will be receiving a refined form of UVB known as narrowband UVB.

Present in natural sunlight, UVB is an effective treatment for psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions.

Your dermatologist would have decided which treatment is best for you.

What does the procedure involve?

A trained phototherapy nurse will administer your UVB treatment at the hospital. The ultraviolet light is produced by fluorescent tubes in specially designed walk in cabinets.

Phototherapy treatment will involve exposing affected skin to the UVB light. 

You will need to attend the phototherapy unit between two to three times a week for a course of light therapy.   Depending on your skin condition, you will receive between     24 – 36 treatments. Treatment days are usually Monday & Thursdays, Tuesday & Fridays or Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The times will be discussed at your first appointment.   

We ask that you always be on time for your treatments. You must attend regularly for this treatment to be successful.

The majority of patients will enter the cabinet naked. Your privacy and dignity will be protected at all times.

You will be asked to wear eye protection/ goggles, and for some, a visor or face shield will be worn. For men the genitalia will be covered during treatment.

Pre Assessment

You will be asked to attend an appointment for a pre-assessment with the phototherapy nurses once you have been referred.

This appointment will involve a discussion with the nurses about your skin condition, and what phototherapy treatment will involve.

Your treatment may start the following week.

MED Testing

Prior to commencing UVB, most patients will require a MED test (Minimal Erythema Dose).  This is a test dose of ultraviolet light on a small area of your skin. This is a non painful assessment.

The MED will be done on your pre assessment day. You will be expected to return the following day for the result to be read.

What are the potential side effects of phototherapy?

The short-term side effects of phototherapy include:

  • Redness and discomfort (sunburn).
  • Dry and itchy skin.
  • Rashes, a sunlight induced rash.
  • Cold sores, if you are prone to these it is advisable to cover the area usually affected with sun block whilst having ultraviolet light treatment.
  • Blisters in areas of psoriasis.
  • Worsening of skin disease.

Everything will be done to minimise these side effects.

Potential long-term side effects of Phototherapy include:

  • Premature skin ageing/solar elastosis.
  • Skin cancer (the risk of skin cancer is related to your total lifetime exposure to ultraviolet light and other factors such as how easily you burn in the sun; the risk is higher with repeated courses of UVB).

Do I need to avoid anything whilst having Phototherapy?

  • Medicines that make you more sensitive to ultraviolet light. You should inform the phototherapy staff of any medicines that you take, prescribed or purchased, including herbal preparations.
  • Perfumed products.
  • Long hair should be tied back at each visit.   Severe haircuts should be avoided during the course of treatment as this will uncover previously unexposed skin, which may then get a sun-burn like reaction.
  • Do not sunbathe during treatment and DO NOT use sun beds at all.


Where can I get information about Phototherapy?




To obtain further advice and information please contact

Rowan House Tel: 01752 439712

Phototherapy Tel: 01752 439660

Phototherapy Nurses

Rowan House

Derriford Road


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