Smart Health: I Tried The Daavlin 7 Series Home Phototherapy Unit for My Psoriasis and Eczema and Got My Skin Under Better Control
Name: Howard Chang
Condition: Psoriasis and eczema
How Long Iâ€™ve Been Living With Psoriasis and Eczema: Since childhood
Iâ€™ve lived with chronic severe psoriasis and eczema (atopic dermatitis) for most of my life. These skin conditions often leave red and itchy rashes and lesions on just about every part of my body. While they are different in the way they are triggered and how they look on my skin, phototherapy, or light therapy, can be an effective treatment for both. My first dermatologist prescribed phototherapy using ultraviolet light rays to treat my skin starting when I was 9 years old. My mom drove me three times a week to the dermatology clinic, which was about a 45-minute drive from home. Over the years since then, Iâ€™ve used phototherapy off and on both at the clinic and at home. My dad built my first home â€œlight boxâ€ out of plywood and light fixtures, but I never owned a manufactured home unit. In mid-2018, I was prescribed the Daavlin narrow band ultraviolet B (NUVB) unit to supplement my other treatments.
What Is the Daavlin 7 Series Phototherapy Unit?
The Daavlin 7 Series is a home phototherapy unit used to treat certain skin conditions. It can have up to 12 six-foot-long bulbs. These bulbs look like the fluorescent bulbs found in an office building or garage. Phototherapy bulbs emit a purplish glowing light that can be ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB).
The unit my doctor and I agreed on comes with eight NUVB bulbs, with four in the center and two on each of the side doors that can fold closed when not in use. Having more bulbs increases the intensity of the light and decreases the time needed to receive the prescribed dosage of light. Instead of using a timer that comes standard with the unit, I opted for the extra cost of Daavlinâ€™s Flex Dosimetry controller, which measures the exact output of light for each treatment session. That way, I can treat at home as precisely as I would at a clinic.
Hereâ€™s What Happened When I Tried It
Using the phototherapy unit is as simple as programming the control box and standing in front of the light bulbs at a set distance for the prescribed dosage. The control box is attached at the center at about eye level. Before starting a treatment, Iâ€™m required to enter a security code to activate the unit. Next, I enter the shutoff time â€” a safety feature that is calculated based on the expected dosage and intensity of the bulbsâ€™ output.
Finally, I enter the dose of narrow band ultraviolet light prescribed by my dermatologist before pushing the start button. My doctor determined the starting dosage of light based on my skin type. However, because of a bad experience with overexposure in a previous treatment, she agreed that I could start at a much lower dose. With subsequent treatments, I increased the dosage until I reached the target number.
Since my skin is affected from head to toe, I need to undress before starting the treatment. The intensity of the light can burn my face and genitals, so I cover them up. I also wear goggles provided by the manufacturer to protect my eyes from the ultraviolet light rays. The unit treats one side of my body at a time. When Iâ€™m done treating the front of my body, I push two buttons simultaneously on the control panel to repeat the treatment settings for my back.
I use the Daavlin phototherapy unit three times week. Each time I see my dermatologist I report my dosages and my skinâ€™s response to the treatments. Over the first few months, I found the dose range that helps my eczema and doesnâ€™t burn my skin. The dose is not high enough to treat my psoriasis effectively, but it is part of my overall treatment strategy.
Three Things I Liked About the Daavlin 7 Series Phototherapy Unit
The Daavlin 7 Series allows me to receive phototherapy treatment at home. I use the panel regularly because of some of the great features Iâ€™ve come to truly appreciate:
- Convenience In the past I needed to drive 30 minutes or more each way to receive phototherapy treatments at a clinic. The convenience of doing the treatments at home is a huge plus.
- The Dosimeter The Daavlin phototherapy unit comes with a dosimeter. I appreciate setting the exact dose since exposure times can change based on the age of the bulbs or temperature in the room. The dosimeter also makes it easy for me to report my treatments to my dermatologist.
- Small Footprint I like how the unit fits in the corner of my bedroom and does not take up a lot of space. When closed, the folding doors protect the bulbs.
Three Things I Disliked About the 7 Series Daavlin Phototherapy Unit
The Daavlin 7 Series does have some drawbacks, including price, assembly, and the learning curve to program the control panel:
- The Cost My insurance provider did not approve coverage for home phototherapy, even with my dermatologistâ€™s prescription. I decided to pay out of pocket for it, with the support of friends and family. I did appreciate, though, how Daavlin discounted the unit to $3,650 for me as a patient paying out of pocket â€” discounted from $5,450.
- Assembly The unit comes in a large wooden freight box. My son and his friend helped move the unit to the bedroom from the garage. It took us a couple of tries to get the feet and supports assembled correctly due to the weight of the unit. I could not attach one of the four grills that cover each pair of bulbs.
- Confusing Instructions I studied the instruction manual carefully, but learning how to program the control panel and set the safety timer took some time to figure out.
The Bottom Line
The Daavlin 7 Series is a convenient phototherapy unit that I can regularly use at home under the direction of my dermatologist to treat my psoriasis and eczema. The unit primarily helps me control my eczema, keeping rashes and itchiness under control. My psoriasis does not respond as well to phototherapy, although I do believe it helps to reduce some of the redness and inflammation. The unit became an indispensable part of my overall treatment routine once I learned how to use the control panel and found the right dosage.
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