Understanding NB-UVB Phototherapy

Narrowband UVB has become the phototherapy treatment of choice for psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and other photoresponsive skin disorders. Understanding the benefits of “Narrowband” UVB versus conventional “Broadband” UVB phototherapy requires an understanding of light and the processes it affects.

The spectrum of optical radiation (light) is made up of different wavelengths of “light” ranging from 100 nanometers (nm) in the ultraviolet (UV) range to 1(mm) in the infrared (IR) range. Visible light spans from about 380 nm (violet) to 780 nm (red) and are known as the “colors” that we see with our eyes. Ultraviolet is invisible and ranges from 380 nm down to 100 nm, and is further subdivided into UVA (315-380 nm), UVB (280-315 nm), and UVC (100-280 nm).

Another interesting benefit of UVB-Narrowband is that it is likely the best fluorescent lamp type for making Vitamin D3 in human skin, for use instead of natural sunlight (which includes harmful UVA), or for those that cannot absorb adequate oral Vitamin D (tablets) due to problems in the gut. The subject of Vitamin D has received tremendous media attention lately, and for good reason. Vitamin D is essential to human health, yet many people are deficient, especially those that live at higher latitudes, far away from the earth’s equator. There is increasing evidence that Vitamin D protects against the development of many chronic diseases, including: cancer (breast, colorectal, prostate), cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, and depression.  

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