Laser is a form of phototherapy that treats small areas of skin affected by vitiligo.1 Treatment involves a narrow band of UVB light delivered directly to a vitiligo lesion via handheld excimer laser device. Excimer lasers are flexible enough to treat hard-to-reach areas, such as ears and groin.2
Unlike narrow-band UVB (NB-UVB) therapy, excimer lasers use a higher, more targeted dose of energy, which shortens the course of treatment and avoids affecting healthy skin.2 Recent studies show that laser may produce better results than NB-UVB, the current phototherapy of choice, with an estimated 70 percent effectiveness in people with vitiligo.2,3 To enhance response, laser treatment may also be combined with topical corticosteroids or tacrolimus.2
Excimer laser works best when there are only a few localized areas to treat. Some physicians start treatment with NB-UVB on larger areas, then switch to excimer to treat any remaining spots.1
How do I take it?
Laser treatments for vitiligo are typically performed one-to-three times a week for an average of seven weeks. UV radiation dosage is determined by skin type, age, skin condition, and response to treatment.2
Common side effects include redness and sunburn, hyperpigmentation, new skin lesions, and possible reactivation of herpes virus infection.2
Long-term exposure to UVB radiation can cause skin aging and skin cancer.1