UVA vs. UVB Tanning Booths: What's the Difference and How They Affect Psoriasis?

Dave Norris

UVA vs. UVB Tanning Booths: What's the Difference and How They Affect Psoriasis?

When it comes to managing psoriasis, light therapy, also known as phototherapy, can be an effective treatment. However, not all light is created equal. UVA and UVB rays, commonly used in tanning booths, have distinct differences and impacts on psoriasis. Understanding these differences can help you make informed decisions about your psoriasis treatment.

Understanding UVA and UVB Rays

UVA Rays:

  • Wavelength: UVA rays have a longer wavelength, ranging from 320 to 400 nanometers.
  • Penetration: They penetrate deeper into the skin, reaching the dermis layer.
  • Effects: UVA rays are often associated with aging and long-term skin damage. They cause tanning by oxidizing the melanin in the skin, resulting in a more immediate but shorter-lived tan.

UVB Rays:

  • Wavelength: UVB rays have a shorter wavelength, between 290 and 320 nanometers.
  • Penetration: They affect the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis.
  • Effects: UVB rays are primarily responsible for causing sunburn. They play a crucial role in the production of vitamin D in the skin and are more effective in treating psoriasis.

UVA vs. UVB in Tanning Booths

UVA Tanning Booths:

  • Common Use: Primarily used for cosmetic tanning.
  • Psoriasis Treatment: UVA rays are less effective for psoriasis treatment. When used, they are often combined with a photosensitizing agent like psoralen (a treatment known as PUVA), which makes the skin more responsive to UVA light.
  • Risks: Prolonged exposure can lead to premature aging and increased risk of skin cancer.

UVB Tanning Booths:

  • Common Use: More commonly used for medical purposes, including treating psoriasis.
  • Psoriasis Treatment: UVB phototherapy is highly effective for psoriasis. It slows down the growth of affected skin cells, reducing scaling and inflammation. Narrowband UVB (311-313 nanometers) is particularly effective and has fewer side effects compared to broadband UVB.
  • Risks: While UVB rays can cause sunburn if overexposed, controlled UVB therapy under medical supervision minimizes risks and maximizes benefits.

How UVB Phototherapy Helps Psoriasis

UVB phototherapy works by penetrating the skin and slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells that cause psoriasis. It reduces inflammation and scaling, providing relief from symptoms. Here's how it benefits psoriasis patients:

  • Slows Skin Cell Growth: UVB rays target the overactive skin cells, reducing the rapid turnover that characterizes psoriasis.
  • Reduces Plaque Formation: By slowing cell growth, UVB therapy helps diminish the formation of thick, scaly plaques.
  • Improves Symptoms: Regular sessions can lead to significant improvement in symptoms, including reduced redness, itching, and scaling.

Considerations for Tanning Booth Use

If you are considering tanning booths for psoriasis treatment, it's crucial to:

  1. Consult a Dermatologist: Always seek professional advice to determine the appropriate type of phototherapy for your condition.
  2. Use Medical-Grade Equipment: Opt for phototherapy equipment designed for medical use rather than cosmetic tanning booths.
  3. Monitor Exposure: Follow the recommended exposure times and frequency to avoid burns and other side effects.


While both UVA and UVB rays are used in tanning booths, their effects and efficacy in treating psoriasis vary significantly. UVB phototherapy, particularly narrowband UVB, is a proven and effective treatment for psoriasis, offering relief from symptoms and improving skin condition. Always consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best phototherapy approach for your needs.

For more information on psoriasis treatments and products, visit GotClearSkin.com.