Does using tanning beds help psoriasis?
Anyone who deals with psoriasis on a regular basis knows it’s a very upsetting condition. It can affect your entire body from your scalp down your legs. There are medications you can get from your dermatologist, but many times you need to look at everything going on in the body to get to the root cause—especially the gastrointestinal tract. GI health is critical to help improve the issues that typically lead to psoriasis outbreaks. Autoimmune conditions and other conditions can also cause the development of psoriasis plaques and patches that are scale-like, flaking, red and tougher areas. They are simply hard to get rid of—but there is hope.
In addition to having plaques and Other than your skin, it can be deeper for some people; they can have psoriatic arthritis which can affect the joints. There is no cure for the condition. There are however treatments can help and you should utilize your different doctors such as a dermatologist, GI specialist, nutritionist, and your primary care doctor to find the best treatment approach for you.
Other than creams or oral supplements and prescriptions, you could benefit from alternative therapies as sunlight or controlled light therapies. Sometimes a tanning salon might be helpful but learn the difference of the tanning salon and other medically prescribed light therapies.
Light therapy—another option for psoriasis treatment
Skin care treatments are evolving—like IV vitamin C and B complex therapy. But this therapy is much simpler than that—light. Sunlight or other prescribed light treatments and combinations of prescriptions could be the treatment for your psoriasis. Other than those two light therapies some patients could have luck with tanning beds at a local tanning salon.
Outside in regular sunlight, and there are even treatment options a dermatologist can recommend such as light therapy is called, phototherapy. This of course is a treatment monitored by your doctor. This is not a tanning bed and has nothing to do with tanning, in a tanning salon.
So—is a tanning bed a treatment option for psoriasis?
Using a regular tanning bed hasn’t been proven treatment option for people with psoriasis. There are some studies that show improvement for some people. So, it could be an option or alternative. The issue is too much exposure opens the door to cancer.
The objective for psoriasis treatment is a treatment plan and multi-pronged approach. Using only light therapy usually isn’t the way because there are greater root causes that are deeper than your skin.
Light therapies: differences between phototherapy and regular sunlight
There are two kinds of UV light: ultraviolet A (UVA), the sunshine we get outside and ultraviolet B (UVB) light. Both kinds can help control psoriasis. Different kinds of light therapy are out there for you to try for psoriasis improvement and skin conditions. These therapies are for helping your body as a whole. They directly help to address the overactive T cells in your body and can be a great way to help reduce a psoriasis flare ups that affect the entire body.
Natural sunlight therapy
The sun is filled with natural UV or ultraviolet light rays. Vitamin D, you get from sunshine. It is essential for skin, bone health, and even mental state. Having vitamin D is also essential for your immune system and we know that is the key to having superior gut and skin health.
Natural sunlight can help improve psoriasis. You only really need a few minutes a day of sunlight to start improving your mood, skin and general health. No one needs to sit inside all day—it can become quite depressing, and if you suffer from psoriasis or another skin condition, it is well-worth the try! On the flip side—having too much sunlight could actually cause a flare-up so keep your exposure to a little each day and help improve your skin.
Make sure you understand all side effects from current supplements and medications or other treatment regimens you are on—some medications you cannot have too much sub exposure or none at all. Talk to your pharmacist to be sure, if you don’t know. Also, don’t put sun tan lotion on areas of your skin affected by psoriasis; this could make the situation worse.
UVB phototherapy vs. PUVA therapy
This is when you use UVB light only for certain short periods. This is done in a setting that is controlled by a doctor or skin care technician. This treatment can be done at home in some cases as well. Essentially, this kind of therapy is using wavelengths that address a certain area on your body with skin problems like psoriasis or can address your entire body if you suffer everywhere with psoriasis. Your doctor should warn you—the condition can become worse before it starts to improve.
PUVA treatment is another therapy that is used with UVA light therapy. You have to be taking the oral medication treatment called, Psoralen. This medication with UVA light therapy is used to treat psoriasis caused by the over production of skin cells. This is usually a harder hitting approach to someone with severe psoriasis however, can cause more side effects. This is not something that should be done as a long-term treatment option.
A note on tanning beds
While tanning beds aren’t an approved treatment—this doesn’t mean they might not be beneficial for someone battling psoriasis. Extensive studies haven’t been done, but a study was done in 2015 that determined they could be beneficial for some people.
They aren’t suggested for someone with psoriasis because they emit more UVA light than UVB light. And unless the person is given medications like psoralen—this isn’t a light treatment that will be effective for a psoriasis patient. Also, using tanning beds too much can lead to skin cancer.
Risks of using tanning beds
- Increased risk of developing melanoma
- Coal tar and tazarotene can increase risk of sunburn
- Oral medications: soriatane and methotrexate, increase sun burn and skin cancer
- Immunosuppressive drugs (biologics) lower immune function and can increase the risk of skin cancer
Anytime you do a prescription session of phototherapy, it is done under medical supervision. Your doctor knows what other treatments you are on or have tried. If you go to another clinic or doctor for a specific treatment always advise them about any medications, treatments, or supplements or other therapies you are currently on or have tried for psoriasis.
Alternative supplements that can help improve psoriasis
- Curcumin or turmeric
- Different mushrooms
- B complex
- Vitamin C
- Ashwagandha, improves mental well-being and immune function
- Vitamin E, orally or topically
- Vitamin D
- Coconut oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Olive oil
- Butchers broom, herb to increase circulation
- Fish oil
Aside from increasing vitamins and supplements, there are other issues to improve in your life. You may want to try acupuncture to help improve stress, lower your blood pressure and assist with other bodily functions which can help improve your skin health and quality, and reduce developing psoriasis. It can also improve gut health, which is essential to get a handle on to not have psoriasis outbreaks. Soaking your body in Epsom salts can improve blood flow and skin quality and release toxins in the body.
Also, just being outside in nature and getting sunlight can help improve your wellbeing. This can help you improve your immune system, improve blood flow and also address your skin health. Staying away from too many harsh chemical products—this will also help keep your skin healthier and less chance of getting de-hydrated.
There are also many ways to manage symptoms
- Reduce stress levels
- Prevent dry skin
- Avoid heavy fragrances or chemicals
- Use organic lotions, shampoos, make-up, etc.
- Soak your body in the tub with Epsom salts
- Get sunshine
- Reduce stress
- Healthier diet: see the Mediterranean diet
- Improve adrenal function
- Improve gut health
Managing symptoms can help but understanding your blood work and how your vitamin levels are or if you have an infection or inflammation is the first step to combating your psoriasis. Try everything you can.
If tanning doesn’t help you, it is best to used prescribed phototherapy with a doctor overseeing your treatment. When the usual options like creams, gels, oral medications, and injected medications don’t help, light therapy could be an option for you to help combat psoriasis outbreaks. Using ultraviolet rays can help improve your skin, if you suffer from psoriasis and you cannot get benefits from other options or treatment plans set by your doctor.