Failure of coconut oil to accelerate psoriasis clearance in narrow-band UVB phototherapy or photochemotherapy

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Despite a widely held belief that the use of emollients prior to broad-band UVB irradiation accelerates clearance of psoriasis, only one single-blind controlled study exists in support of this. No similar study has been carried out with photochemotherapy (PUVA) or narrow-band UVB (311-313 nm) phototherapy. As some emollients absorb UV radiation, and thereby inhibit psoriasis clearance, there is a need to identify emollients suitable for pre-irradiation use. Coconut oil may be useful in this respect. In two randomized groups of patients with chronic plaque psoriasis undergoing either routine PUVA (n = 14) or narrow-band UVB phototherapy (n = 15), a single-blind controlled (half-body) study was undertaken to assess the effect of pre-irradiation application of coconut oil. Patients were given PUVA twice weekly, or TL-01 therapy thrice weekly. The initial UV dose was 70% of previously determined minimal phototoxic (MPD) or minimal erythema doses (MED), with 40% incremental steps at each visit (reduced if adverse effects occurred). Psoriasis severity was scored on each side after every three treatments. No significant acceleration of psoriasis clearance was seen in either group. We do not, therefore, recommend the routine use of emollients prior to PUVA or TL-01 therapy when using near erythemogenic irradiation regimens.




George, S. A., Bilsland, D. J., Wainwright, N. J., & Ferguson, J. (1993). Failure of coconut oil to accelerate psoriasis clearance in narrow-band UVB phototherapy or photochemotherapy. British Journal of Dermatology, 128(3), 301–305.

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