Exposure to natural sunlight or ultraviolet light often helps people with atopic dermatitis. However, it can be counterproductive if at the same time patients are exposed to heat and humidity, which causes them to perspire and itch or get sunburned.
Phototherapy with many different types of ultraviolet light may be prescribed, such as broad-band ultraviolet B, broad-band ultraviolet A, narrow-band UVB, or combined UVAB light. Tanning beds are not appropriate therapy. This treatment should be used in conjunction with other therapies. It also should be reserved for patients with especially severe atopic dermatitis because of potential long-term adverse effects, including premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.