Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015;8:511-520.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease that can affect all age groups.
Phototherapy represents a valid second-line intervention in those cases where non-pharmacological and
topical measures have failed. This review illustrates the main trials comparing the efficacy and safety of
the different forms of phototherapy. Clinicians mainly refer to the indications included in the American
Academy of Dermatology psoriasis guidelines devised by Menter et al in 2010. The efficacy of phototherapy
(considering all forms) in AD has been established in adults and children, as well as for acute (UVA1) and
chronic (NB-UVB) cases. Phototherapy is generally considered to be safe and well tolerated, with a low but
established percentage of short-term and long-term adverse effects, with the most common being
photodamage, xerosis, erythema, actinic keratosis, sunburn, and tenderness. A carcinogenic risk related to
UV radiation has not been excluded. Phototherapy also has some limitations related to costs, availability,
and patient compliance. In conclusion, phototherapy is an optimal second-line treatment for AD. It can be
used as monotherapy or in combination with systemic drugs, in particular corticosteroids.