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Summary Twenty patients with photodermatoses [actinic prurigo n=6), hydroa vacciniforme (n=4). idiopathic solar urticaria (n=1), amiodarone-induced photosensitivity (n=1) and a range of cutaneous porphyrias (n=8)] were treated with a ‘hardening’ course of narrow-band ultraviolet B (TL-01) phototherapy in springtime. The response to phototherapy was monitored subjectively, by interviewing patients after the summer, and objectively by monochromator phototesting, before and after phototherapy. Fifteen patients reported that treatment was worthwhile. Monochromator phototesting after phototherapy revealed a fourfold increase in the minimal erythema dose in those with abnormal photosensitivity to ultraviolet A wavebands. Adverse effects included erythema (seven patients), pruritus (five) and provocation of the eruption (four). We now routinely consider narrow-band UVB phototherapy for problem photodermatoses.