What Is UV Light Therapy?

An introduction to UV Phototherapy, its use and availability in the UK

What is UV Light Therapy?


UV light therapy, or phototherapy, is a well-established, globally recognised treatment for skin conditions such as Psoriasis, Eczema and Vitiligo.

How does UV Phototherapy work? 

Exposing the skin to specific wavelengths of UV light has a therapeutic effect on disorders such as Psoriasis, Vitiligo and Eczema. UV light therapy works by affecting a number of biological processes associated with these skin conditions.

These disorders are recognised as immune mediated conditions. This is where the body’s immune system does not function “normally” and becomes overactive.

  • For example, in the case of Psoriasis, the normal skin cell life cycle is accelerated from 4 weeks to 3-4 days resulting in immature skin cells being pushed to the surface of the skin.
  • With Vitiligo, the immune system is similarly triggered into overactivity, which causes the destruction of melanocyte cells. Destruction of these cells results in the depigmentation of the skin.

UV Phototherapy has a mediating effect on the immune response in the skin, moderating the immune system response to “normal levels” resulting in reduced inflammation, a return to “normal” pigmentation, reduced itchiness and scaling.

As a side note, although UV Phototherapy mediates the skin’s immune response, patients are not considered to be “immune suppressed” (and therefore more vulnerable), as UV Light Therapy only targets the local (skin’s) immune response.

So, you are probably looking at this page as you suffer from one of the conditions that UV light therapy treats. If you are interested in more detail on the science, there is plenty more in our information guide.

UV Phototherapy in the UK

As we are based in the UK, I will describe how UV Phototherapy works in practice in the UK (as therapy is administered in different ways in different countries/continents).

As mentioned, UV therapy involves exposing the skin to specific wavelengths of UV light. In the UK, by far the most common therapy is n-UVB (Narrowband Ultra-Violet B) light. If you are referred for phototherapy in the NHS, you will most likely be referred for n-UVB Phototherapy.

Modern medical science has determined that the most therapeutic light for skin conditions such as Psoriasis and Vitiligo is UVB light at a very specific wavelength (311nm).Light emitted at this wavelength is described as Narrowband UVB or n-UVB light.

Philips manufacture a range of tubes which are designed specifically for medical use to emit light concentrated at this wavelength (311nm). These tubes, (Philips Narrowband TL01 tubes) are the tubes that are used world-wide in the medical profession and are the only lamps fitted by our manufacturers in our units.

Narrowband UVB light therapy involves exposing the skin to the light for very short periods of time. Typically, this exposure will be between 30 seconds and a maximum of 4 minutes, 2-3 times each week, typically seeing results within 4 to 8 weeks.

Please note these timings & timescales carefully.  UV Phototherapy is extremely effectivebut only if you stick to the treatment regime rigorously.

In a Hospital or Dermatology unit you will step into a cabinet which surrounds your body with n-UVB lamps. Your body will be exposed to the light for a number of seconds. You will then be required to return to the hospital repeat this exposure, in line with your treatment schedule, every 2-3 days for 4-8 weeks.

As stated, it is critical for you to follow the light exposure schedule rigorously in order for the treatment to work. Due to limited resources, some Authorities will, understandably, return you to the waiting list if you miss a number of your appointments.

This is where UVB light therapy at home comes into its own.

Why UVB Phototherapy at home rather than via the NHS?


UVB light therapy involves exposing the skin to the light for very short periods of time. Typically, this exposure will be between 30 seconds and a maximum of 4 minutes, 2-3 times each week, typically seeing results within 4 to 8 weeks. Please note these estimations carefully.  UV Phototherapy is extremely effective, but only if you stick to the treatment regime rigorously.

Contrasting NHS Phototherapy treatment appointments with UVB Phototherapy at home.

  • If you have a n-UVB phototherapy device at home, treating yourself 4 times per week becomes very simple.
  • You do not need to allocate any time for the treatment. You can integrate your 30 second – 4-minute exposure in your daily schedule, after a shower in the morning or your bath at night.
  • No time off work. No awkward conversation regarding your condition.
  • No problem sticking to the treatment schedule. You only have to find a spare 4 minutes somewhere in your day.
  • No travelling to a treatment centre.
  • No costs associated with attending a hospital appointment.
  • UVB Light treatment at home puts you permanently at the front of the queue for treatment.
    • If you miss a few sessions – Not a problem, just restart the course!
    • If your Psoriasis flares up – You can treat yourself immediately!
    • You can take control of the management of your condition!
    • Knowing that you can control your condition reduces the amount of stress associated with a flare. This can break the vicious circle where stressing exacerbates Psoriasis.

At MBS we have endeavoured to make the same n-UVB Phototherapy that is available to patients in a Hospital available to patients at home.

Our company have been helping people to access n-UVB phototherapy in their own homes since 1996. Even though our business has moved on to an e-commerce platform, we recognise that most of our customers value the personal service that buying on the internet lacks. We also recognise that many of our customers value our experience and look to us for advice.


We pride ourselves on a personal service and are more than happy if you  or your dermatologist wish to contact to discuss our products.

Even if you have researched n-UVB thoroughly, (as most of our customers do). Please do get in touch,  we may be able to offer some further insights that you may not have considered ….. and if nothing else, some empathy.

To get an idea of how we treat our customers, take a look at the independent Google reviews on our Google Business Page

  • We are available via phone  on 01925 694280 or email  sales@treatpsoriasistl01uvblamps.co.uk to discuss any questions you may have.
  • We are happy to talk to your Dermatologist or Doctor if you prefer.
  • Our aim is to offer a personalised service to try and offer advice on the most appropriate device for your condition.
  • Please be patient with us, if your phone call is not answered, we are most likely speaking with another customer (most of our calls are quite lengthy).
  • We guarantee that if you leave us a message with your phone number or email us, we will contact you as soon as possible.

If you require any further information then please do not hesitate to get in contact with us and we shall be more than happy to answer any questions. Office hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (excludes Bank Holidays). The office is closed on Saturdays but we will still try to answer your call up to 1pm. Outside these hours you can leave a message and we will get back to you the next working day.