It may seem difficult to believe, but in the 21st century, skin conditions, especially those that are visible, are still stigmatized by our society. Those who suffer from these conditions not only have to deal with the condition itself, but with the reactions they get from others. It is often an enduring struggle, where the goal is to reduce symptoms. Fortunately, there are a lot more options for treatment these days.
One of the treatments we offer at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery is called XTRAC® Therapy. It has been used effectively for many years for the treatment of psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema.
A Brief Introduction to XTRAC
XTRAC is an excimer laser that delivers a targeted beam of UVB light to the affected area without harming the surrounding healthy skin. This UVB light penetrates the skin and breaks up the DNA of T-cells, which contribute to the formation of psoriasis plaques and other skin rashes, slowing down the growth of the affected skin cells. This treatment can be used on any part of the body, including hard-to-treat areas such as the scalp, knees, elbows, and genitals.
Since 2000, it has had FDA clearance to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis. It is a good treatment for those who have not had success with other treatments, plus it is recommended for nearly everyone, including children, and women who are pregnant or nursing.
Conditions Treated by XTRAC Therapy
As we mentioned, XTRAC has FDA approval to treat the following conditions:
Psoriasis – a common, chronic condition that causes patches of itchy, scaly, and inflamed skin, called plaques. It is a skin disorder in which skin cells reproduce at a much faster rate than normal, causing the skin cells to build up and form these patches. They commonly appear on the knees, elbows, hands, feet, and scalp. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type, but other types include pustular psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and guttate psoriasis. Psoriasis can interfere with sleep and make everyday tasks difficult.
Vitiligo – is a skin pigmentation disorder, which appears as skin patches that have lost their color caused by the immune system destroying melanocytes (pigment-producing cells). Vitiligo affects all sexes, races, and skin tones, and is mostly found in patients between the ages of 10 and 30 years old.
Eczema – is a term used to describe a variety of skin conditions that involve inflamed, irritated skin. There are seven different types of eczema, with atopic dermatitis being one of the most common. This condition is related to an overactive immune system response. Symptoms show as dry and scaly skin, redness, itching, and rashes, and they normally appear behind the ears, on the face, arms, and legs. These reactions are triggered by different irritants or allergens. Other types include contact dermatitis, neurodermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.
What are the advantages of XTRAC over other treatments?
XTRAC Therapy is highly effective, safe, and painless. Since it limits exposure of healthy skin to treatment, there is no thinning of the skin as is common with topical medication. It also doesn’t have the health risks of biologicals and systemic medications, such as liver damage or heart failure.
XTRAC Therapy provides you with long-lasting relief. Depending on your situation, it typically can ease symptoms for four to six months. And you can find relief without the messy creams! Treatments take as little as ten minutes, on average, making it easy to handle on anyone’s schedule. This treatment can also be used in conjunction with other treatments such as topical and systemic medications if your Board-Certified Dermatologist thinks it might be more effective for your situation.
What can you expect when you go for an XTRAC treatment?
The XTRAC laser utilizes a fiber-optic system that is placed directly on the skin. Your Dermatologist will move the beams across the affected areas. This laser energy effectively treats active lesions while leaving the healthy skin intact. Some people report a slight burning sensation, but for most, it is a painless procedure. No downtime is needed after the procedure. Depending on your Dermatologist’s recommendations, therapy can be performed two to three times per week.
Side-effects may include mild redness and/or blistering in the treatment area. Hyperpigmentation may develop, though it will fade over time once treatment is completed. You need to avoid sun exposure after treatment and in between treatments.
How many sessions will you need?
Most patients will begin to notice an improvement within three or four treatments. Significant improvement is often seen in six to ten treatments.
XTRAC Therapy is effective at improving your symptoms, but it cannot treat the underlying cause. There is no cure for any of these conditions, so your symptoms may return when you experience another flare-up. At that point, your Dermatologist may suggest another round of treatments.
If you would like to know more about how XTRAC Therapy can help you with your skin condition, reach out to one of our Board-Certified Dermatologists or Licensed Providers. We have four convenient locations you can call in the Greater Spokane and Inland Northwest Area or book an appointment online.