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Dermatologists Discuss Laser, Light Therapy
Oct 2002
NEW YORK, Oct. 24 -- Lasers and light sources show promising results as a viable alternative in treating several common skin conditions, said dermatologist Arielle N.B. Kauvar, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine.

Speaking this week at the American Academy of Dermatology's Derm Update 2002, Kauvar said newly developed laser and light-based technology offer noninvasive, nonsystemic and medication-free treatment alternatives for skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, vitiligo and hypopigmentation. While current treatment of these conditions often requires topical and systemic medications such as corticosteroids and antibiotics, results vary from person to person and these medications can cause side effects, she said.

Kauver presented findings to her peers from various studies that demonstrate benefits of using yellow light pulsed dye laser at 585 nm and the excimer laser -- emitting UVB light at 308 nm -- to treat psoriasis, an intense pulsed UVB light and excimer laser for treating vitiligo and hypopigmentation, and use of intense pulsed UVB light to treat eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.

"The improvements seen in patients with these common skin disorders using new laser therapies are really remarkable," said Kauvar. "Ongoing clinical investigation should help to further optimize these novel techniques and apply them to the treatment of other skin conditions in the future."

However, patients need to be aware that many states do not distinguish who can and cannot perform procedures with laser/light sources, Kauvner said. "Since skin treatments using lasers can carry potential side effects, they should be performed by a qualified physician or under direct physician supervision. I encourage patients to ask their physician questions about who will be performing laser surgery, including their qualifications."

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