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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Tanning Bed for Psoriasis?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated May 17, 2024
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Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes red, thick patches to grow on the skin. The skin patches, also known as scales, are not contagious, but they can be itchy and can cause social anxiety for psoriasis patients. Some people who do not have success with classic treatments turn to a tanning bed for psoriasis treatment. There are some advantages to this alternative treatment method, including skin patches clearing up, a low cost and extra self-confidence for patients. The negative aspects of this treatment, which can include skin cancer risk and medication reactions, should also be considered.

There is an element found in the sun's rays that can help lessen the rapid growth of skin cells in some psoriasis patients. This factor is why there is a class psoriasis treatment known as light therapy, which can be performed in a dermatologist's office. Some patients might not be able to afford light therapy treatment if they do not have insurance or if their insurance does not cover it. Sitting outside and catching some rays can be another way to expose the skin to light, but some people might not have time for this because of busy work or school schedules. As an alternative, some patients will use a tanning bed for psoriasis treatment on a regular basis.

One advantage of using a tanning bed is that it helps lessen or even make the scales temporarily disappear in some patients. A person who has been suffering from this illness for years might find this reason enough to use a tanning bed for psoriasis treatment. Another advantage is that after the scales and redness lessen, a patient might have less anxiety and depression, which can lead to a better quality of life. A third positive about using tanning beds is that they are relatively inexpensive to access. As of 2011, many tanning salons had packages for as little as about $20 US Dollars per month.

Before a patient hops into a tanning bed for psoriasis treatment, there are a few drawbacks that should be taken into consideration. One is that tanning beds use harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Any person who overly exposes himself or herself to UV rays is at a higher risk for skin cancer than someone who does not. Another drawback to consider when it comes to tanning is that light does not mix well with all medications. If a patient is being treated for psoriasis, depression or any other condition with any type or cream or medication, he or she should talk to a doctor before tanning, to learn about and avoid any potentially serious allergic reactions.

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