Gabriel Mueller — Industrial Designer

A drug free treatment for facial psoriasis


Blue light therapy is a proven method to treat psoriasis, a skin inflammation which produces itchy plaques on different parts of the body


A device which helps patients treat facial psoriasis at home - without the need for medication


    What is psoriasis?

    Psoriasis is a widespread skin disorder, which affects around 2 percent of the world‘s population. There are different kinds of psoriasis, such as plaque, scalp or nail psoriasis. The chronic inflammatory disease causes thick, red skin lesions which are covered by silver scales. These patches, which might be itchy and painful, can occur all over the body but are most often to be found on the elbows, knees and on the scalp.

    Psoriasis manipulates the immune system so that it produces new skin cells at an abnormally fast rate (3 to 4 days compared to a normal rate of 28 to 30 days). According to the severeness of the inflammations, treatments either aim to reduce itching and dryness, or to slow down the process of skin replacement.


    How to make light treatment more accessible?

    Even though medication seems to be a convenient treatment to reduce symptoms of skin diseases, it could cause some negative side effects. Methotrexate can cause lung problems and affect the liver, corticosteroids affect the kidney, may elevate blood pressure and lead to psychologic changes and retinoids are not recommended for pregnant women.

    Light therapy is, therefore, a safe and healthy way to treat skin diseases. Still, the challenge remains how to make light therapy attractive to patients who prefer the convenience of taking conventional medication.


    Understanding facial psoriasis

    Facial psoriasis may appear in several areas of the face and the affected parts are often mirrored. A foam model of a human head helped me to get a better understanding of the distribution.

    I used it to mark the affected areas. The gif below shows the affected areas: More saturated markings indicate a higher prevalence of psoriasis.


    Goal: Design a product which adapts to the user

    How to cover the different facial areas which might be afflicted by psoriasis? I have considered three different approaches:

    First, led stickers with adhesive surfaces (inspired by diabetes products or products related to ostomy care), second, masks which cover the respective areas (inspired by safety masks and helmets) and third, adjustable light pads which are connected to a headband (inspired by audio products and wearable technology).


    The technical package influences the design of the fully- working prototype

    A goal of the project was to create a fully working prototype. This meant that I had to consider dimensions and weight of relevant components throughout the design process. Especially the batteries turned out to be quite large and heavy.

    Thus, I decided to create a separate housing for the technical components instead of including them into the headband. The arms of the light pads are highly flexible and can be adjusted according to the patient's affected facial areas.