Narrowband UVB Phototherapy (TLO1)

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1337/2022
  • Departments: Dermatology
  • Last Updated: 31 July 2022


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion.   If, after reading it, you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What is narrowband UVB phototherapy?

Narrowband UVB Phototherapy is an ultraviolet treatment for skin disease which means the skin is exposed to very narrow and precise wavelengths of ultraviolet B radiation (UVB.TLO1).  Exposure takes place in a specially designed cubicle containing fluorescent tubes around the walls.

Your treatment is under the supervision of Phototherapy Nurse Specialist, (CNS) or medical staff.

It will be necessary for you to attend the department three times weekly during the course of your treatment.

The length of treatment course will vary from one patient to another. An average treatment for psoriasis would be 7 to 10 weeks.

How is the treatment administered?

You will need to attend the department three times weekly for exposure to UVB radiation.

On days attending for UVB treatment you can only apply recommended EMOLLIENTS to your skin prior to exposure.  This will be discussed at your assessment.  You will also be informed if you should apply your active creams on the evening after attendance.

Can there be any complications or risks?

Short term risks:

Many patients experience dryness and itching of the skin which is treated with a simple emollient/moisturiser.  The nurse will give guidance about appropriate creams for use.

Some patients may experience prickling of the skin ‘prickly heat’, occasionally bad enough to necessitate stopping treatment.

Up to 30% of patients may develop mild to moderate sunburn at some point after treatment.  A few people may have more severe sunburn although this is very uncommon and we try to minimize the risk.

Do report any burning or excessive discomfort as soon as possible.  You may telephone the Phototherapy room 01482 624192, PUVA room or Reception 01482 623006.

Cold sores may occur in susceptible people due to activation of the herpes virus as a response to UVB exposure.  A sun block will be provided for use if previously identified cold sores.

Long term risks:

It is common for patients who have had UVB therapy for many years to show premature ageing of the skin, eg dryness, freckling and wrinkling.  There is also a small risk with prolonged exposure to UVB that skin cancers may develop. To minimize the risks, only the shortest course UVB is given to gain the best results.

It is advisable to share the information contained in this booklet with your partner and family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support.  There may be information they need to know, especially if they are helping or taking care of you following this treatment.


During your assessment a medical history will be taken so PLEASE BRING DETAILS OF ANY TABLETS AND CREAMS YOU ARE PRESENTLY USING.  The do’s and don’ts along with risks and benefits will be covered at the time of your assessment. Please ask any questions that you need answering during this time.  If any further questions occur during the course of your treatment please ask the nurse delivering your treatment.

You may have a light test carried out on a small area of skin on lower back/upper sacrum called an MED.  This delivers differing low dose of UVB to your skin which can indicate the treatment strength you are able to commence on, to get the best response.  You will need to return the following day for a reaction check.  If this is not possible to carry out it will not stop you from having a course of phototherapy.

What will happen?


You will need to attend the department three times weekly with a 48 hour gap between each treatment on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The length of treatment course will vary from one patient to another.  On average this would be 6 to 8 weeks.  Your agreed allocated time slot will be the same on each day of attendance during the course.

The effect of the treatment will be monitored carefully by the nurse at each attendance and any problems referred to the Phototherapy CNS or medical staff.

You will also be reviewed by the CNS or your Dermatologist after 20 treatments in the Dermatology Outpatient Clinic.

If you fail to attend for more than two treatments without informing us, you will be discharged back to the care of your GP and your appointment slot will be given to another patient.

During your treatment

Each time you attend for treatment you will be asked your name and date of birth, to confirm your identity, even when the nurse knows you.  You will also need to tell us of any problems with your skin since previous treatment eg  has skin been hot or sore, pink or red in areas.  This will ensure that you receive the appropriate dose of UVB for you.

During your course of treatment the dose of UVB, and time required to deliver this, will gradually increase, depending on the reaction of your skin.

Your eyes will be protected with goggles and your face is protected by a mask/visor during treatment.

Male patients must protect the genital area from exposure, preferably by wearing a black sock (not supplied by the department).  This minimizes the chance of experiencing any burning that can occur on jock strap lines, if not worn in exactly the same position each treatment.  A jock strap can be worn if preferred and these will be provided by the department.

Do avoid alcohol of any kind before your UVB treatment.

Do not miss treatments unless absolutely unavoidable because your regime depends on regular controlled UVB exposure.

If you are unable to attend for treatment please telephone the Phototherapy room on 01482 624192 or 01482 623006 reception, and discuss this with the nursing staff.

Do not apply any new creams which are not prescribed by the Dermatology Department.  Please inform the nurse/doctor about any medications you are taking including ones you buy yourself from the chemist, this includes supplements and herbal remedies.  If your own GP introduces a new drug, including an antibiotic or any other form of treatment, please tell the nurse prior to your treatment.

Do not sunbathe or use a sun bed at any time during your course of treatment. 


This leaflet was produced by the Dermatology Department, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in July 2025. 

Ref: HEY1337/2022

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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