Phototherapy has become one of the most popular dermatology treatments used to cure or treat many conditions, including certain types of cancers and precancers, skin disorders like vitiligo and psoriasis, and even season affective disorder. Believe it or not, though phototherapies (also known as light therapies) have proven to be extremely effective, it’s even more effective during the winter months. Here’s why.
One of the main reasons phototherapy is perfect for winter is its ability to treat seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Also known as the “winter blues”, seasonal affective disorder is a mood disorder brought on by the shorter days we experience in the fall and winter. This depression usually occurs around the same time every year and seems to worsen during the winter months. With darker, more dreary days, and significantly less sunlight, individuals may experience depression-like symptoms such as overeating, loss of energy, and sleeping too much.
Phototherapy has been a common treatment method for this condition. Patients typically sit in a lightbox for up to an hour in which they are bathed in a bright warm light that simulates the glow we receive from sunlight. This treatment is said to improve one’s mood considerably.
Phototherapy may be an incredible treatment for skin conditions and cancers, but the fact of the matter is, it leaves your skin more sensitive to natural sunlight. This is why phototherapy treatment in the winter is safer than any other season. During the winter, there is less UV radiation that reaches the ground that can negatively interact with your skin.
This harmful radiation is one of the main causes of skin cancer and other serious skin conditions. So, while you should still wear sunscreen when going out, getting phototherapy treatment during the winter lowers your risk of overexposure to UV rays.
Beyond treating medical conditions, phototherapy has been widely used in cosmetology. Cosmetic conditions like acne and sun damage like wrinkles and melasma can be treated using Blu-U light treatment, a type of phototherapy. We typically experience both of these conditions during the summer months, so our skin has taken a serious beating by the time winter rolls around. Winter months are the perfect time to undo the madness from the summer and completely rejuvenate and restore our flawless skin, and that’s exactly what phototherapy can do.
We mentioned less sunlight in the winter, which can be a good thing when avoiding UV radiation. However, that does mean that we tend to get less vitamin D during the winter months. Vitamin D is responsible for keeping bones, teeth, and tendons strong and healthy, so it’s important that we get our healthy daily dose. Yet, when natural vitamin D is in short supply, we can rely on phototherapy treatments to increase our vitamin D levels.
If you’re curious to see what phototherapy can do for you and you’re in Cincinnati, Ohio, our experts at The Dermatology Group can help you explore your best options and get you started. Give us a call today!