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Frequently Asked Questions

Discover answers to common questions about phototherapy. Learn about the benefits, procedures, and safety of using light therapy for various health conditions.

What is phototherapy?

Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is a medical treatment that involves exposing a person to specific wavelengths of light to treat various health conditions. Different types of light, such as ultraviolet (UV), visible, or infrared light, can be used for phototherapy, depending on the condition being treated. Phototherapy works by influencing biological processes in the body through light absorption. The light energy is absorbed by T-11 helper cells and tissues, which can lead to various therapeutic effects.

What is narrowband UVB phototherapy?

Narrowband UVB (Ultraviolet B) phototherapy is a type of phototherapy that uses a specific range of ultraviolet light wavelengths to treat various skin conditions. It involves exposing the skin to artificial light with a specific narrow band of wavelengths, typically around 311 to 313 nanometers.

This form of phototherapy is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, and some types of dermatitis. The narrowband UVB light is known to have therapeutic effects on these skin conditions by slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells, reducing inflammation, and promoting the healing of affected areas. Compared to broad-spectrum UVB light, narrowband UVB has been found to be more effective in treating certain skin disorders while minimizing potential side effects like sunburn or skin damage. It has become a preferred choice in many dermatological treatments due to its targeted approach and reduced exposure time.

During a narrowband UVB phototherapy session, the affected skin areas are exposed to the specialized UVB light for a controlled duration. Treatment frequency and duration are determined by a healthcare professional based on the individual’s skin condition, response to treatment, and skin sensitivity.

As with any medical treatment, it’s crucial to undergo narrowband UVB phototherapy under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare provider to ensure proper dosage, minimize risks, and achieve optimal therapeutic results. Regular monitoring and follow-up appointments help to adjust the treatment plan as needed and track the progress of the skin condition being treated.

Is phototherapy the same as a tanning bed?

Phototherapy and tanning beds both involve exposing the skin to light, but they are used for different purposes and utilize different types of light.

Phototherapy:

Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is a medical treatment prescribed by healthcare professionals to treat specific skin conditions, mood disorders, and other health issues. It uses controlled doses of ultraviolet (UV) light, primarily UVB and UVA, to target specific cells in the skin and body. Narrowband UVB phototherapy refers to a specific limited set of wavelengths of UV light, 311 nm. Narrowband UVB is commonly used to treat conditions like psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema, while UVA phototherapy is used in combination with light-sensitizing medications to treat certain skin disorders. Phototherapy sessions are carefully monitored, with precise exposure times and light intensities determined by medical professionals. The goal of phototherapy is to provide therapeutic benefits while minimizing the risk of side effects like skin damage or increased risk of skin cancer.

Tanning Beds:

Tanning beds, also known as sunbeds or tanning booths, emit UV radiation to induce a tan by stimulating the skin’s melanocytes to produce more melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. Tanning beds primarily emit UVA radiation, which penetrates deeper into the skin and can lead to skin darkening. However, tanning beds are not designed as medical treatments and are not regulated for therapeutic purposes. Using tanning beds comes with significant risks. Overexposure to UV radiation from tanning beds increases the risk of skin damage, premature aging, and skin cancer. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified tanning devices, including tanning beds, as Group 1 carcinogens, which means they are known to cause cancer in humans.

In summary, phototherapy and tanning beds differ in their purpose, the types of light used, and their intended outcomes. Phototherapy is a controlled medical treatment prescribed by healthcare professionals for specific conditions, while tanning beds are recreational devices associated with increased health risks, including skin damage and cancer. It’s important to use medical treatments like phototherapy under professional guidance and to avoid using tanning beds altogether.

Is phototherapy the same as LED light therapy?

Phototherapy and LED light therapy are related concepts, but they are not exactly the same. LED light therapy is a specific type of phototherapy that uses light-emitting diodes to emit targeted wavelengths of light for cosmetic and dermatological purposes. Phototherapy, on the other hand, encompasses a broader range of treatments using various types of light to address a wide array of medical conditions beyond cosmetic concerns. Narrowband UV phototherapy uses UV light, such as UVB or UVA, and should be administered under medical supervision and is often used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, and other health issues.

Can you do phototherapy at home?

Yes, it’s possible to undergo certain types of phototherapy at home under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional with our home phototherapy devices available by prescription. It’s important to note that home phototherapy is not suitable for everyone, and the decision to undergo treatment at home should always be made in consultation with a medical professional. Self-administered phototherapy, such as utilizing a 3rd party or used device, without proper guidance can lead to ineffective treatment, adverse effects, or exacerbation of the underlying condition. Always prioritize your safety and follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.

What home phototherapy devices are available?

NatBio has an assortment of UV home & clinical phototherapy devices ranging in size from handheld to larger, full-body devices. Our portfolio ensures that we have a solution suited for every need. To learn more about our available phototherapy devices, click here.

How much does a phototherapy device cost?

NatBio prides itself on getting our light therapy devices to those who need them the most – regardless of the cost. This is why our dedicated team will work tirelessly with you and your insurance company to make sure your prescribed device is covered and/or is little to no out-of-pocket cost to you.

No insurance or high, out-of-pocket deductibles? No problem. We offer discounted cash pricing and convenient pay options that ensure you get the treatment you need at a price you can afford. What are you waiting for? Contact NatBio today!

What is a refill code and how do I get another?

When your device controller has reached its limits of prescribed treatments, to obtain a refill code, contact your healthcare provider to notify them your device requires a new code. You will need to provide the code shown on your device to your provider in order for them to acquire a new code. Your healthcare provider will then contact NatBio approving the refill authorization. Once your rep receives your prescription authorization, they will reach out to you with your new code, and at which point you can resume your treatments.

When do I need to change lamps?

NatBio recommends changing your devices lamps after 150 hours of operational use. To review your device’s hours of use, please refer to your operational manual for instructions.

Does insurance cover phototherapy?

Every insurance carrier has specific medical policy criteria that needs to be met. It’s important to contact your insurance provider directly to understand the specifics of your coverage. They can provide information about whether in-office or home phototherapy is covered under your plan, what documentation may be needed, and any associated costs.

Will insurance cover the cost of a home phototherapy device?

Every insurance carrier has specific medical policy criteria that needs to be met. It’s important to contact your insurance provider directly to understand the specifics of your coverage for a home phototherapy device. They can provide information about whether such devices are covered under your plan, what documentation may be required, and any associated costs. Our dedicated team will work tirelessly with you and your insurance company to see if your prescribed device can be covered.

Are there specific medications that I should avoid while undergoing phototherapy treatment?

It’s crucial to be aware that certain topical treatments might impede the effectiveness of your overall treatment. For instance, certain lotions include UV-absorbing components akin to those found in sunscreens, potentially diminishing the benefits of phototherapy. Some topicals and medications can make your skin more sensitive to light. Be cautious of lotions containing photosensitizing agents or essential oils like lime, lemon, or orange, as they may lead to unexpected skin reactions when exposed to the ultraviolet energy used in phototherapy. Additionally, substances such as coal tar, psoralens, and retinoids consistently heighten your skin’s sensitivity to UV light. It’s advisable to consult with your doctor regarding the impact of topicals and medications on your phototherapy treatments.

How should I properly dispose of my phototherapy device and/or lamps now that I no longer need them?

Lamp Disposal: It is recommended to recycle UV lamps, containing mercury, in accordance with local regulations, rather than leaving them in the device to prevent potential harm. If unsure about lamp disposal, please contact your local waste/recycling service to inquire about fluorescent lamp recycling in your area.
Device Disposal: Important Note – Due to regulatory restrictions, NatBio cannot purchase or resell used devices. If you wish to dispose of your phototherapy device, NatBio recommends contacting your local recycling center as we do not accept used items, nor do we aid in the disposal of said items.

For further information regarding this matter, please review this document.