Patients with atopic dermatitis frequently observe an improvement in their symptoms during summer due to the increased sun exposure. During the course of the summer holidays, 74% of patients with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis saw complete resolution in one study. Interestingly, more patients saw complete resolution on seaside holidays (91%) than mountain holidays (11%) (Patrizi et al, 2009). While UV exposure does not completely explain this difference, it supports the positive effects of UV radiation on atopic dermatitis (Wollenberg et al., 2018).
Table 8: Phototherapy options (Wollenberg et al, 2018).
In Europe, NB-UVB has been used for patients with chronic, moderate forms of atopic dermatitis and is preferred to BB-UVB, while more severe cases have been treated with UVA1 (Wollenberg et al., 2018). Interestingly, a small number of patients with atopic dermatitis do not tolerate NB-UVB but respond well to BB-UVB (Pugashetti et al., 2010).
Ultraviolet radiation has been observed to produce a number of biological effects within the skin that may explain its ability to treat atopic dermatitis.