Skip Navigation

Prickly Heat – UV Phototherapy treatment

Healthcare Inspectorate WalesPrickly heat can be an immensely discomforting condition and is caused by sweat glands in the skin becoming blocked as a result of sweating.

The condition is usually made worse by hot conditions which may cause sweating. Ultraviolet light is not helpful in this condition, and may in certain conditions make it worse.

However, the term ‘prickly heat’ is often used to describe an entirely different condition called polymorphic light eruption, or PLE.

This common skin complaint affects almost 1 in 5 of the population. It is caused by exposure to sunlight (or, in some cases, artificial light) and usually occurs on sun exposed sites in late spring or early summer, when the skin is first exposed to strong sunlight after being covered up during the winter months.

This exposure results in a variable reaction, often including a red, itchy rash. It usually improves as the summer progresses, and the skin becomes accustomed to the sun. Usually, avoidance of strong sunlight, or the use of sunscreens or clothing can help to prevent PLE. However, in severe cases, a course of carefully increased exposures to ultraviolet light (phototherapy) can desensitise the skin. This can be applied each spring, to help avoid PLE during the summer, but may also be helpful just before a sunny holiday, where the intensity of sunlight is often much stronger than is usual in the UK.

Since UVA light is often the triggering factor, the use of UVA sunbeds is unhelpful, and phototherapy desensitisation is best performed using narrow-band UVB (which is usually not the triggering wavelength).

Narrow-band UV phototherapy treatment for desensitisation of PLE is available at ClearSkin Dermatology Treatment Clinic. Treatment by UV Phototherapy is usually undertaken over 4 weeks with a series of 12 treatments.

If you would like to find out more information about Prickly Heat Treatment (Polymorphic Light Eruption (PLE) please contact The Clear Skin Dermatology Treatment Clinic on 02920 795775 or email info@clearskin.uk.com