Laser Treatment for Eczema: Does it Work?

This article breaks down what you need to know if you’re considering laser treatments for eczema.

What is laser treatment for eczema?

Laser therapy is a type of photobiomodulation, or light therapy. It involves the use of light to create a physiological effect in cells and tissue.

Different types of wavelengths and light sources may be used, depending on specific needs. Some treatments utilize lasers and some use light-emitting diodes (LEDs), according to 2019 research.

Research from 2014 has shown that one of the most effective forms of laser therapy comes from the excimer laser, which uses an ultraviolet B radiation system. The laser can effectively treat eczema in both adults and children.

How it works

Laser therapy is a noninvasive treatment option for eczema. According to the National Eczema Association, a dermatologist may recommend laser therapy or another form of phototherapy (light therapy) if other forms are treatment fail to help your eczema.

With the excimer laser, your doctor will use a handheld device to focus treatment on specific parts of your body. It can be used all over your body, including your hands, feet, and scalp.

If your doctor uses another form of phototherapy, you may stand inside of a machine that will direct light at either your whole body or only exposed areas.

Length of treatment

Laser therapy sessions are typically short, but they do require you to drive to the hospital or dermatologist’s office. You can expect the treatment to last for less than 1 minute at first and up to several minutes in later sessions.

If your doctor prescribes phototherapy, you will likely need to go in for several sessions over the course of several weeks.

The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) states that you may need 2 to 6 sessions per week and that treatment can last anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months.

Where to go for treatment

You’ll need to go to a dermatologist’s office or hospital for the treatments. You should ask your dermatologist’s office where the therapy location is.

What body parts it’s good for

A doctor may recommend laser therapy for localized eczema or phototherapy for large areas of the body. Which it is used for will depend on how widespread your flare is at the time of treatment.


Costs of treatment varies across the country.

If you have insurance, your plan may cover some or part of the cost if the treatment is deemed medically necessary. Since it is often used when other treatments fail, your insurance may only cover the costs after other treatments have not produced adequate results.

You should contact your insurance provider to see how much of the treatments your plan will cover.

Does it work?

Laser therapy can be an effective tool for treating eczema.

In a 2016 study, researchers found that the excimer laser (308 nm) helped improve eczema flares on the hands and feet. In a study from 2014, researchers found that the same laser helped both adults and children with pain and itchiness associated with eczema.

Despite the potential for success, laser therapy may not work well for everyone.

The IQWiG notes that treatment can be time consuming and difficult to maintain. Plus, laser therapy can cause side effects, such as sunburn-like irritation and dried out skin. Finally, it cannot make eczema go away on its own.

To help avoid side effects, you should avoid sun exposure prior to and following the procedure.

Can lasers remove eczema scars?

Eczema itself shouldn’t scar, but it may leave behind post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This can actually worsen with phototherapy or excimer treatment because those areas will darken or tan more than unaffected skin when exposed to the rays.

Other types of lasers may help to reduce the appearance of scarring from different forms of skin damage.

Learn more

You should talk with your doctor if you want to reduce the appearance of scarring on your skin. They may have other recommendations for reducing the appearance of scars or addressing uneven pigmentation due to eczema.

To reduce the chance of skin damage, avoid scratching or picking at your skin during a flare.


Laser treatments may help treat your eczema. They can be effective in both concentrated areas of your skin and over your whole body.

The treatments do have drawbacks, including:

  • the need for many continuing treatments
  • the chance of potential side effects
  • costs not covered by insurance

If your eczema symptoms aren’t going away, you might consider talking with your doctor to determine whether laser therapy is right for you.

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