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Recap on UVA/UVB and Tanning Beds
from Idaho Flaker

Hi: I just found your site. I am thrilled to find so much information. I just had a baby 5 months ago. I was clear with both my pregnancies, but now it is back. My question is: What is the difference between PUVA treatments, which are UVA light coupled with the drug psoralen, and a regular tanning bed without the drug? I have read people discussing UVA and UVB. I am curious what the difference is and can they both only be found under a dermatologist's care? Is a tanning bed UVB? I am breast feeding so I have been going to a tanning bed and it seems to have flattened the plaques out after 7 times. Do you have any insight? -Idaho Flaker


Ed's Response: Your last question is the easiest to answer, Idaho: Do I have any insight? Not much. As light therapies haven't worked for me, my experiences are limited and all bad. Some quick answers:

UVB is a narrower slice of the light spectrum with the most palliative affect on psoriasis and it is used by itself or in combination with photosensitizing agents in dermatological light treatments.

UVA is the broader spectrum of light used by tanning beds and in dermatological light treatments that combine it with psoralen (PUVA).

Your best source of information on ALL your questions is the National Psoriasis Foundation. Click on their name to zip right to their site. To go directly to a recent NPF article titled "UVA & UVB: What's the difference?" click here. Also, in the September/October issue of the NPF Bulletin there is a "very informative" (a.k.a. controversial) article titled "Can you trust tanning beds? Some doctors now say they're OK, but others still warn to stay away." NPF members get the NPF Bulletin, which is one of several reasons why you should join. A membership costs "whatever you can afford to contribute." Meanwhile, info at the web site is available to all. Good luck and give the babies a kiss for Papa Ed. -Ed

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