SolRx UVB Home Phototherapy for Eczema / Atopic Dermatitis
A naturally effective, drug-free treatment for long-term relief of acute & chronic eczema /atopic dermatitis
Phototherapy for Eczema:
How Solarc Systems Can Help You Find Relief from Your Symptoms
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It causes dry, itchy, red, and inflamed patches of skin that can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Eczema can affect any part of the body, but it is most often seen on the face, neck, hands, and legs. Eczema is not contagious, but it can have a significant impact on your quality of life and self-esteem.
Most types of eczema involve an immune system response and have no known cause2, but there is evidence that a compromised immune system plays an important role3,4,5. When threatened, the immune system’s white blood cells release substances that cause inflammation, burning sensations, and itchiness. With itch comes scratching, often sub-consciously at night, which worsens the condition in the so-called itch-scratch cycle resulting in sleeplessness, irritability, and ever-more patient stress. In severe cases, the skin will thicken, crack, bleed, and weep fluid; which can allow bacteria to enter and a secondary infection to develop.
What are the Treatment Options?
Before you start any treatment for eczema, you should consult your physician for a proper diagnosis and the best course of action. Your physician’s advice is always more important than any information from Solarc or this webpage. Different types of eczema may require different treatments, so it is essential to know what kind of eczema you have.
The treatment of eczema almost always begins with simple moisturizers to help the skin barrier heal, with oatmeal baths and lotions being successfully used for many decades. To reduce itch, sometimes topical antihistamines are used. For more severe cases, topical steroid drugs or the topical calcineurin inhibitors Protopic (tacrolimus) and Elidel (pimecrolimus) may be prescribed by your doctor. Topical drugs can be effective but may result in complications such as skin atrophy (skin thinning), rosacea, irritation, and tachyphylaxis (loss of effectiveness). These topical drugs can also be rather expensive, with a single tube costing up to $200 and sometimes a tube or two required every month for extensive eczema.
UVB Phototherapy for Eczema
Beyond topicals, the next treatment in line for many types of eczema is clinical or in-home UVB-Narrowband (UVB-NB) phototherapy, which within weeks of slowly building up treatment times can provide significant remission. Low-dose maintenance treatments can then be used to control the condition indefinitely and drug-free with practically no side effects. Plus there is the immense benefit of making large amounts of Vitamin D naturally in the skin, carried away by the skin’s tiny blood vessels for health benefits throughout the body.
In practice, UVB-Narrowband light therapy works well in professional phototherapy clinics (of which there are about 1000 in the USA and 100 publicly funded in Canada), and equally well in the patient’s home4,5. There are many medical studies on the subject – search for “Narrowband UVB” on the US Government’s respected PubMed website and you will find more than 400 entries!
Some of the Many Types of Eczema, and How They Respond to Phototherapy:
Responds well to UVB-NB Phototherapy
Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It is hereditary, typically starts early in life, and is often associated with allergies. It responds well to UVB-Narrowband light therapy, in-home or at the clinic.
Phototherapy is not recommended
This long-term rash is associated with varicose veins. It is normally treated with topical drugs and compression stockings. Phototherapy is not recommended.
Infantile Seborrheic Eczema
Clinical phototherapy only
ISE affects infants and normally clears up within a couple of months. UV phototherapy is not recommended except for severe cases, and only under physician guidance in a phototherapy clinic.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD)
Clinical PUVA phototherapy may be considered
As the name suggests, allergic contact dermatitis is caused by an allergen contacting the skin, with the body taking an immune system response, sometimes well after the initial contact. Common allergens include nickel as found in jewelry, latex as in latex gloves, and plants such as poison ivy. The primary treatment objective is to identify and eliminate the allergen, typically by using allergic patch testing. When other treatments such as topical steroids fail, clinical PUVA phototherapy may be considered.
Discoid or Nummular Dermatitis
Responds well to UVB-NB Phototherapy
This form of eczema has been associated with staphylococcus aureus infection and appears as roundish shapes scattered on the limbs. The plaques can become very itchy and lead to further complications. UVB-Narrowband phototherapy has proven to be effective in treating discoid eczema.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis
May respond to UVB-NB Phototherapy
As the name suggests, irritant contact dermatitis is caused by a chemical or physical irritant contacting the skin, but without the body taking an immune system response. Common irritants include detergents, clothing friction, and frequently wet skin. The main treatment objective is to identify and eliminate the offending agent. In many cases, the patient also has the more common atopic dermatitis type of eczema, in which case they may benefit from UVB-Narrowband phototherapy.
Adult Seborrheic Eczema / Dermatitis
Responds well to UVB-NB Phototherapy
This mild form of eczema is commonly referred to as dandruff, but it can spread beyond the scalp to other parts of the body such as the face, ears, and chest. UVB-Narrowband is a successful treatment protocol for patients who have a chronic or severe case that is not manageable using topical products6.
How Safe is Phototherapy for Eczema?
The Truth About UV Light and Cancer Risk
Solrx devices are safe to use and pose no risk of cancer, according to a recent report by Dr. John E. Harris and colleagues. The report is based on a 25-year study that followed 206 eczema patients who used UVB-NB phototherapy devices at home for an average of 6.6 years. The report compared them with 409 matched controls who did not use light therapy. The report found that phototherapy devices improved eczema symptoms and quality of life, and reduced the need for other medications. The report also found that phototherapy devices did not increase the risk of skin cancer, cataracts, or other side effects, compared to the control group. The report concluded that phototherapy devices are reliable and user-friendly and that light therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for eczema patients.
How Can UVB-Narrowband Phototherapy Help?
If you have eczema, you can treat it at home with UVB-Narrowband phototherapy. This is a safe and effective method that uses the same Philips UVB-Narrowband bulbs as the clinic devices, but in a smaller and more convenient size. The only difference is that you may need to spend a little more time under the light to get the same dose and results.
To use phototherapy at home, you should follow these steps:
- Take a bath or shower before the treatment to remove any dead skin or dirt that may block the UV light or cause irritation.
- Put on the UV protective goggles that come with the device and cover your genitals with a sock if you are male and they are not affected by eczema.
- Use the device’s timer and the eczema treatment protocol in the SolRx User’s Manual to set the right amount of time for each skin area. The goal is to get a slight pinkness of the skin within a day after the treatment, but not a sunburn. If you don’t get any pinkness, increase the time slightly for the next treatment two or three days later. If you get too much pinkness, decrease the time for the next treatment.
- Apply any topical creams or moisturizers after the treatment as needed.
- Repeat the treatment two or three times per week, never on consecutive days, until your eczema clears up. This may take from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on your condition. After that, you can reduce the frequency and time of the treatments to maintain your eczema.
Phototherapy at home has many benefits over phototherapy at the clinic, such as:
- Saving time and money on travel
- Having more flexibility and convenience
- Enjoying more privacy and comfort
- Being able to continue maintenance treatments after clearing up your eczema, instead of stopping them and risking a flare-up
The possible side effects of phototherapy are similar to those of natural sunlight: sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer. However, these are rare and manageable if you use phototherapy correctly and follow the instructions. Phototherapy only uses UVB light, which is less harmful than UVA light. Phototherapy is also safe for children and pregnant women, and can be combined with most other eczema treatments.
The Four SolRx UVB-NB Phototherapy Device Families:
The SolRx E‑Series begins with a single Master 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 full body UVB-NB light delivery.
Starting at CA$1595.00
The SolRx 1000‑Series is the original Solarc 6-foot panel that has provided relief for thousands of patients worldwide since 1992. Available with 8 or 10 Philips Narrowband UVB bulbs. Ideal for full body treatments at the lowest “cost per bulb” of any Solarc device.
29″ wide x 72″ high x 3.5″ deep.
CA$3145.00 to CA$3445.00
The SolRx 500‑Series has the greatest light intensity of all Solarc devices. For spot treatments, it can be rotated to any direction when mounted on the yoke (shown), or for hand & foot treatments used with the removable hood (not shown).
Immediate treatment area is 18″ x 13″.
CA$1395.00 to CA$1795.00
The SolRx 100‑Series is a high performance 2-bulb handheld device that can be placed directly on the skin. It is intended for spot targeting of small areas, including for scalp psoriasis with the optional UV-Brush. All-aluminum wand with clear acrylic window.
Immediate treatment area is 2.5″ x 5″ inches.
Is UVB Phototherapy for Eczema Safe to Use All Year Round?
A new study published in August 2022 from Vancouver (Incidence of skin cancers in patients with eczema treated with ultraviolet phototherapy) concludes that:
“Overall, other than for patients with a history of taking immunosuppressive therapy†, there was no increased risk of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or basal cell carcinoma in patients receiving ultraviolet phototherapy, including narrowband UVB, broadband UVB, and concurrent UVA plus broadband UVB, supporting this as a non-carcinogenic treatment for patients with atopic eczema.”