Two of the least attractive words in the English language: fungal infection. It's nobody's favorite topic. But if you are unfortunate enough to face one, then you want quick, effective help. New research is developing a treatment using full spectrum light instead of medications to combat fungal infections. Could helping your fungus see the light set you free?
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Athlete's foot, ringworm, jock itch and toe nail fungus are some of the most common skin-deep fungal infections. But there also exist more serious ones like Cryptococcus neoformans--a fungus which attacks the central nervous system and is becoming more prevalent in AIDS patients.
Many varieties of rarer fungal infections exist within all parts of the body and can often result from a compromised immune system, or in other cases a lot of sweaty skin which needs to get dry and breathe.
- Athlete's foot, ringworm, jock itch and toe nail fungus are some of the most common skin-deep fungal infections.
- Many varieties of rarer fungal infections exist within all parts of the body and can often result from a compromised immune system, or in other cases a lot of sweaty skin which needs to get dry and breathe.
Light and Dark
Ultraviolet Light Used in Diagnosing Ringworm
Mushrooms often grow in dark, moist land. So do many other fungi-- including many of the ones that invade human bodies. For some fungi--like athlete's foot--simply keeping feet dry and exposed to light can make a huge difference. So, the concept goes that for fungi which have light sensitivity in their genes, ultraviolet light can be an inhibitor of growth, or even a cure.
Researchers at Duke University published a March 15, 2005 article in Public Library of Science Biology which chronicled their discovery that changes in light after a human is infected with a fungus are key to the development or arrest of the infection. Their findings suggest that full-spectrum light therapy may be an effective treatment for fungal infections.
- Mushrooms often grow in dark, moist land.
- So, the concept goes that for fungi which have light sensitivity in their genes, ultraviolet light can be an inhibitor of growth, or even a cure.
Risks and Warnings
So far, no there are no medically approved light treatments for fungal infections. Most of the work in this area is still experimental. Some use of ultraviolet light exists for treating nail fungus--but usually only in extreme cases. Why?
Ultraviolet light has risks. It causes skin cancer. It damages skin cells. By definition, it is radiation. Any use of UV light therapy, or thoughts on using full spectrum light, on fungal infections should be discussed with a dermatologist or other knowledgeable, licensed physician.
- So far, no there are no medically approved light treatments for fungal infections.
Ultraviolet Light Used in Diagnosing Ringworm
Tanning Beds and Acne
How Often To Change the Bedding With Ringworm
Blue Light Therapy Benefits
10 Proven Tips for a Good Night's Sleep
How to Use Black Light to Diagnose Fungus
How to Know if Ringworm Is Dying
How Long Does It Take for Ringworm to Clear Up?
Skin Disorders That Cause Pigment Loss
IPL Laser Treatment Side Effects
- Olsen EA, Hodak E, Anderson T, et al. Guidelines for phototherapy of mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome: A consensus statement of the United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74(1):27-58. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.09.033
- Ahmed I, Fang Y, Lu M, et al. Recent patents on light-based anti-infective approaches. Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov. 2018;13(1):70-88. doi:10.2174/1872213X11666171108104104
- Singer S, Berneburg M. Phototherapy. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2018;16(9):1120-1129. doi:10.1111/ddg.13646
- McGrath H Jr. Ultraviolet-A1 irradiation therapy for systemic lupus erythematosus [published correction appears in Lupus. 2017 Dec;26(14):1573]. Lupus. 2017;26(12):1239-1251. doi:10.1177/0961203317707064
- Yin R, Dai T, Avci P, et al. Light based anti-infectives: Ultraviolet C irradiation, photodynamic therapy, blue light, and beyond. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2013;13(5):731-762. doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.009
- American Academy of Dermatology. Laser and lights: how well do they treat rosacea? Updated 2020.
- Hodak E, Pavlovsky L. Phototherapy of mycosis fungoides. Dermatol Clin. 2015;33(4):697-702.doi:10.1016/j.det.2015.05.005
- Cho A, Jantschitsch C, Knobler R. Extracorporeal photopheresis-An overview. Front Med (Lausanne). 2018;5:236. Published 2018 Aug 27. doi:10.3389/fmed.2018.00236
Eric Feigenbaum started his career in print journalism, becoming editor-in-chief of "The Daily" of the University of Washington during college and afterward working at two major newspapers. He later did many print and Web projects including re-brandings for major companies and catalog production.