SolRx UVB Home PhototherapySelection Guide
It’s easy, here are the things you need to consider:
1 How much of your skin is affected?
2 What skin condition do you have?
3 How sensitive is your skin to ultraviolet light?
4 How much device power do you need?
Let’s get started…
It is important that you discuss with your physician / healthcare professional the best choices for you; their advice always takes priority over any guidance provided by Solarc.
How Much of Your Skin is Affected?
Skin diseases can involve just a few small patches, or for the unfortunate few, nearly the entire body. To cover this range, Solarc has developed four SolRx “Series” (each a medical device “family”), that vary predominantly in treatment area size, but also by features useful for treating commonly involved skin areas.
Within each SolRx Series are several “Models” that share the same basic construction and features, but differ in the quantity of UV bulbs (or in the case of the E-Series, the number of devices), and the wavelength of ultraviolet light they produce (UVB-Narrowband or UVB-Broadband).
All SolRx UVB-Narrowband devices come with everything you need to start taking your treatments, including the device itself with genuine Philips /01 bulbs, patient goggles, and a comprehensive User’s Manual with detailed exposure guidelines for psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema. For Vitamin D, please request the Vitamin D User’s Manual Supplement. There is nothing else that you need to purchase.
The following diagrams and explanations will help you decide which SolRx device is best suited for treating your affected skin areas, with the blue highlights symbolizing typical skin area coverage. All SolRx devices share one common goal: to provide safe and effective UVB phototherapy in the patient’s home.
Let’s Look at the Two Full Body Device Families
Solarc Recommends a 6‑foot High Full Body Device:
- When there is a large percentage of affected skin,
- When there are many small lesions evenly distributed all over the body,
- When vitiligo is spreading (when the white patches are growing in size and number),
- For Vitamin D (one full body UVB session can make the equivalent of 25,000 IU).
Both of these Full Body systems rest on the floor and are fastened to the wall at the top.
The SolRx E‑Series begins with a single 6-foot panel with 2, 4 or 6 bulbs that can be used by itself, or expanded with similar 2, 4, or 6 bulb Add‑On devices to build up to a multidirectional system that surrounds the patient for optimal UVB-Narrowband light delivery. CA$1495 and up
The SolRx 1000‑Series is the original Solarc 6-foot panel that has provided relief for thousands of patients worldwide since 1992. Available with 4, 6, 8, or 10 Philips UVB-Narrowband bulbs. 29″ wide x 72″ high x 3.5″ deep. CA$2295 to CA$3195.
Four Reasons to Choose the E‑Series
The E-Series is multidirectional. Devices that are angled to wrap around the patient are geometrically better at delivering UVB light around the body, which reduces the number of treatment positions and the total treatment time.
At any time expand your system with Add‑On devices to increase coverage and reduce your total treatment time, for example after you are fully convinced how well it works, or when more financial resources are available. Create a full booth if you want!
Most Portable Full Body
Within minutes, an E-Series assembly can be separated into robust individual 33‑pound twin‑bulb devices, each with two rugged carrying handles. Alternatively, pairs of devices can be folded together and fastened at all four corners to totally enclose all the bulbs in steel.
Lowest Cost Full Body
The E-Series Master device is the lowest cost full body device in the world. By itself it is totally capable of providing effective treatment, and especially if only low-dose phototherapy is needed. Many folks use them to maintain their Vitamin D levels.
Four Reasons to Choose the 1000‑Series
Panel type devices are simple and well proven. Many thousands of psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema patients have found relief using the 1000‑Series panel since it was first created in Barrie, Ontario in 1992.
When space is at a premium, consider the 1000-Series as it is only 3-1/2″ thick x 29″ wide and is mounted flat against the wall. A bedroom is a good place to keep it, so you can go directly from a shower to the lights, and then dress. Make it a routine!
Lowest Cost per Bulb
The 10-bulb 1000-watt SolRx 1790UVB-NB has the lowest cost-per-bulb of all SolRx full body devices, followed closely by the popular 8-bulb 1780UVB‑NB (also available in 230‑volt for our international customers).
High Performance Panel
The 1000-Series 6-foot panel come with 10, 8, 6, or 4 Philips TL100W/01‑FS72 bulbs for up to a kilowatt of UVB-NB power. More Power = Shorter Treatment Times!
Now Let’s Look at the Smaller Device Families
When you only have to treat medium-sized areas such as your hands, feet, legs, elbows, knees, or face; and a full body device seems too big, the SolRx 500-Series is likely the best choice.
The immediate exposure area is 18″ x 13″ and the main lighting unit can be positioned to treat almost any skin area.
Four Reasons to Choose the 500‑Series Hand/Foot & Spot
The main lighting unit can be mounted on the yoke (cradle) and be rotated 360° to any direction for Spot treatment of medium-sized skin areas such as the elbows, knees, torso, and face. Or rotate the device to point down to treat the top of the feet. There are many possibilities.
Ideal for Hand & Foot Treatments
With its removable hood and powerful Philips PL‑L36W/01 lamps, it is ideal for hand and foot treatments; just like at the clinic, but in the privacy of your own home!
High Intensity UVB
With up to five powerful Philips PL-L36W/01 bulbs and 180 watts of bulb power, the 500-Series has the greatest UVB-Narrowband irradiance (light intensity) of all the SolRx devices. That reduces treatment times and is especially valuable when treating many different skin areas, or to penetrate thick psoriasis lesions on the hands and feet.
Portability & Toughness
The 500-Series is built tough and designed to be moved around, with or without the yoke (cradle). It weighs 15 to 25 pounds. Just unplug it, grab it from the handle and go.
And for Small Areas, Scalp Psoriasis, and Portability…
When you only have a few small areas to treat, or if you need to treat scalp psoriasis, the SolRx 100-Series Handheld is likely the best choice.
This powerful twin-bulb device has an exposure area that is 2.5″ x 5″ and several innovative features. And you can take it anywhere!
Four Reasons to Choose the 100‑Series Handheld
Highest Performance Handheld
The SolRx 100-Series has the greatest UVB‑Narrowband light intensity of all the handheld devices in the world, made possible by the use of two PL‑S9W/01 bulbs instead of just one, and a biocompatible, all‑aluminum wand with a clear acrylic window that can be placed in direct skin contact during treatment. More Power = Shorter Treatment Times = Better Results.
Keep your hairline clear by putting the wand in direct skin contact and pushing the hair up and out of the way. Or attach the optional UV Brush and move the hair out of the way with its 25 tiny cones so the UVB light has multiple pathways to reach the skin on the scalp.
No other handheld device has anything like our Aperture Plate System for precision targeting, or the option to quickly mount and dismount the wand onto a Positioning Arm for hands‑free use; a feature that clinics love.
The Ultimate in Portability
Everything you need to take treatments is neatly packaged in a high‑quality, USA made plastic carrying case that measures only 16″ x 12″ x 4.5″, and weighs only 8 pounds (3.6 kg). To take a treatment, just plug it in, put on the goggles, and grab the wand. Don’t be without your phototherapy – take it anywhere!
What Skin Disorder Do You Have?
All SolRx UVB-Narrowband devices are Health Canada compliant for the treatment of psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, and Vitamin D deficiency (hypovitaminosis D) under Health Canada Medical Device Licence #12783. These are the “indications for use” for which Solarc can legally advertise, but there are many other skin conditions that can be treated under physician guidance, such as pruritus (severe itching of the skin), CTCL, PMLE, etc.
For full body UVB-Narrowband treatment of psoriasis, the 1000‑Series 6 or 8 bulb models (1760UVB‑NB & 1780UVB‑NB) have become the most popular. Based on feedback from our after sale follow-ups, they provide reasonable treatment times (1-10 minutes per side) and work well for most patients. For full body psoriasis patients that require higher dosages, such as dark skinned people or perhaps determined by experience from the phototherapy clinic, or for those that are not concerned with price, the 10-bulb 1790UVB‑NB is the premium choice, as is the new multidirectional and expandable E-Series, which offers the very highest performance. The E‑Series is unique in its ability to start as a super-economical 6-foot, 2-bulb, 200-watt panel, and then later be expanded by adding more 2-bulb devices to eventually surround the patient and provide so-called “multidirectional” phototherapy, which has geometrically better light delivery than flat-panel type devices. We performed a comparison test between flat-panel and multidirectional units, which can be seen here.
For full body UVB-Broadband treatment of psoriasis, because UVB-Broadband treatment times are of relatively short duration, the 4-bulb 1740UVB is usually adequate (the 1740UVB was the original SolRx device from 1992). The 6-bulb 1760UVB is a good choice if you might want to later change the bulbs to UVB-Narrowband. We suggest review of Understanding Narrowband UVB Phototherapy. UVB-Broadband devices are now far less common than UVB-Narrowband devices, but are still available from Solarc on a special order basis – please contact us for further details.
The 500‑Series model selection is now dominated by the powerful 5-bulb 550UVB‑NB, especially for hand & foot treatments, because thick skin needs higher doses, and the light output is more uniform at the recommended hand & foot treatment distance of 3 inches, which is quite close to the bulbs. The 3-bulb 530UVB‑NB may be a good selection for those with less severe disease and intentions to use the device only at the spot treatment distance of 8 inches. Consider the 2-bulb 520UVB‑NB for even less demanding cases or perhaps if there is a need to economize; for example, with a total of 72 watts of bulb power, a 520UVB‑NB still has 4-times the power of the 18-watt 100‑Series Handheld.
Vitiligo doses are less than those for psoriasis, so vitiligo patients can sometimes use device models with fewer bulbs, such as the E-Series Master, the 1740UVB‑NB or 1760UVB‑NB, and the 520UVB‑NB / 530UVB‑NB. However, the devices with more bulbs will always minimize total treatment time, which makes it easier to follow the treatment regimen. If vitiligo is spreading, Solarc recommends that a Full Body device be used. Vitiligo is normally not treated with UVB-Broadband.
Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis
Treatment times for eczema / atopic dermatitis are in between those for psoriasis and vitiligo, so any number of bulbs could be chosen. Devices with more bulbs will decrease treatment times and make it easier to maintain your treatment schedule. Narrowband UVB can be very effective for the treatment of eczema.
Vitamin D Deficiency
To maximize Vitamin D production and minimize total cumulative UVB exposure, it is sensible to irradiate the largest amount of skin area as possible, but to exclude skin areas that may have already received significant UVB exposure during your lifetime, such as the face, chest, forearms, and shoulders. The SolRx E-Series or 1000-Series Full Body devices provide the best coverage in this regard, but the 500-Series could be used with multiple setups. The SolRx 100-Series is too small for this purpose. For maximum Vitamin D production, Solarc suggests using the treatment times provided in the User’s Manual Psoriasis Exposure Guideline Table. One full body treatment can make the equivalent of up to 25,000 IU of Vitamin D. Ideally, Vitamin D 25(OH)D blood tests are conducted regularly to measure efficacy and fine-tune treatment times and frequency. Please request the SolRx Vitamin D User’s Manual Supplement for more information.
How Sensitive is Your Skin to Ultraviolet Light?
In the mid 1970’s, Doctor Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, a Harvard dermatologist simplified the much older Von Luschan method to classify skin types and how they respond to ultraviolet light. This has become known as the Fitzpatrick scale and is used by dermatologists throughout the world.
Below are the different skin type descriptions. Choose the one that best describes you, but be reminded that sometimes skin type does not accurately predict the skin’s response to UVB light. For this reason, the SolRx treatment protocols provided in the User’s Manuals start with a low dose and gradually increase it as your skin adapts. It is important to not get burned.
Always burns, never tans
Sometimes burns, always tans
Rarely burns, tans easily
Always burns, sometimes tans
Never burns, always tans
Never burns, tans very easily
Knowing your skin type will help you choose how much device power you need. While most customers purchase the higher powered units to reduce their total treatment time, Type I or Type II (light skin) patients might consider the lower powered devices for more precise dosage control, or to economize. Type V or Type VI (dark skin) patients typically need maximum power. Information to determine your skin type is included in the SolRx User’s Manual. For even more information, see the detailed guide at the Canadian Dermatology Association.