Phototherapy of Psoriasis and Other Skin Diseases

  • J. A. Parrish
Part of the Photobiology book series (PB)


One specific aspect of photomedicine is the use of nonionizing electromagnetic radiation to treat disease. Heliotherapy has been prescribed since ancient times for a wide variety of illnesses. The Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Niels Finsen in 1903 for demonstrating the usefulness of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the treatment of a form of cutaneous tuberculosis. Erysipelas and other infections, both cutaneous and internal, have been treated with UV radiation and sunlight and artificial UV sources were used in the prevention and treatment of rickets. For most of these disorders, specific chemotherapy has replaced phototherapy. However, some forms of phototherapy are still quite useful. Visible light phototherapy is an effective treatment for hyperbilirubinemia of infants. This therapy is discussed in Chapter 16. UV radiation is used to treat skin diseases and to relieve certain forms of itching and, in both cases, offers advantages over other available forms of treatment. This UV phototherapy is the topic of the present chapter.


Normal Skin Exposure Dose Action Spectrum Psoriatic Plaque Minimal Erythema Dose 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Parrish
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical SchoolMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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