How Does PUVA Work?

PUVA is a treatment for the skin that combines ultraviolet light and specific medications. The drug psoralen is administered to the patient which makes the patient’s skin ultra sensitive to long wave ultraviolet light. This drug can be taken by mouth or applied directly to the skin. The light is then applied to the skin and allowed to work on the epidermis. PUVA is a form of photochemotherapy and as such is only used on the most severe skin conditions.

What is PUVA Used to Treat?

PUVA was originally developed as a treatment for psoriasis. Since its original application, the treatment has also been found to be useful in addressing vitiligo, mycosis fungoides, and graft versus host disease. Long-term use of PUVA is not recommended, as it has been associated with a higher risk for developing squamous cell skin carcinomas.

Related Conditions

Eczema Treatment

Atopic dermatitis, often referred to as eczema, is a common skin condition that appears most often in children, though it can occur in individuals of any age. Learn More

Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which the cells of the skin multiply much faster than normal. Learn More


Vitiligo is a condition of the skin in which the skin loses its melanocytes, or pigment cells, in certain areas. Learn More

Other Treatments

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