The heliotherapy and the phototherapy are mainly focused on taking benefit of the therapeutic effects of the ultraviolet (UV) irradiance on different skin diseases. The use of UV-B narrowband lamps, with emissions centered at 311 nm, has spread out among the dermatologist community because of its high therapeutic effect in comparison with its low erythema dose.
For cloudless sun exposure, the balance of solar erythemal and solar narrowband (NB)-equivalent irradiances depends on several factors such as the solar zenith angle (SZA), the total ozone column (TOC) and the altitude. For SZA below 55°, the ratio of solar UV-B narrowband and erythemal irradiances increases with the SZA whereas the ratio of vitamin D production and erythemal irradiances decreases with the SZA with the maximum around midday.
Furthermore, the solar NB ratio also increases with the TOC because the shorter wavelengths of the erythemal action spectrum are more affected by the ozone absorption processes. Considering the daily variations of the ratio between narrowband and erythemal irradiance, sun exposures avoiding midday hours are recommended in order to prevent negative side-effects.
However to accumulate great NB doses and sufficient vitamin D in winter months is difficult because the time exposures may be longer than the day duration.
Sola, Y., Lorente, J. and Ossó, A., 2012. Analyzing UV-B narrowband solar irradiance: Comparison with erythemal and vitamin D production irradiances. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 117, pp.90-96.
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