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UVA-1 phototherapy device offers new option for patients with skin conditions

The University of Minnesota Clinics and Surgery Center is now equipped with a UVA-1 phototherapy device, which can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, ranging from psoriasis to scleroderma and atopic dermatitis.
University of Minnesota Health is currently the only health system in the Twin Cities area equipped with a UVA-1 phototherapy device. Though ultraviolet light exposure has long been used to treat some skin conditions, this new tool is an upgrade that penetrates deeper into the dermis to help clear rashes and other conditions.

Patients with skin conditions in the Twin Cities area now have a new treatment option.

The Dermatology Clinic at the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center just became home to a UVA-1 phototherapy device, an advanced skin disease treatment technology that can be used to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema and other skin conditions.

Dermatologists have for years used ultraviolet (UV) phototherapy to suppress the immune imbalance that drives inflammation in many skin diseases. But UV phototherapy is not optimal for all skin conditions.

The new UVA-1 device is an upgrade in phototherapy technology. It emits a narrow band of UV light wavelengths, from 340 to 400 nm, which help penetrate deeper into the skin and combat the inflammation better than other wavelengths of light, said Dermatologist Kim Bohjanen, MD, the University of Minnesota Health medical director of dermatology. For this reason, the UVA-1 device is more effective in reaching and clearing rashes and diseases in the dermis—a thick layer of cells that sits below the epidermis, or surface, of your skin.

The UVA-1 device is currently the only of its kind in the Twin Cities, and its presence provides a new set of options for dermatology patients. Though there is some overlap between traditional NBUVB phototherapy and UVA-1 phototherapy, the new technology is more effective on a wider range of conditions, Bohjanen said.

Learn more about University of Minnesota Health dermatology services.

“We can treat some conditions more effectively than before and can also address more severe conditions,” Bohjanen said. In addition to treating psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema, the therapy is effective against atopic dermatitis, localized scleroderma, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma with thick tumors, morphea and systemic sclerosis, Bohjanen said.

UVA-1 may also be an alternative for patients with certain autoimmune connective tissue disorders. If indicated, University of Minnesota Health dermatologists have broad experience in transitioning patients to UVA-1 therapy.

The UVA-1 device comes with another advantage: Patients using the device are not required to take the oral medication psoralen (also known as PUVA) before treatment. Psoralen is often used in conjunction with UV therapy, but the medicine leaves people light sensitive for the rest of the day, Bohjanen said.