Living With Lupus: How To Care For Your Skin

October 12, 2018

Independent surveys have suggested there may be as many as 1.5 million Americans with lupus. The effects of lupus can be extremely damaging for your skin, so it’s important to know what risk factors, like excessive sunlight, can increase the damage your skin takes. Certain drugs like lenalidomide help to combat the inflammation and other effects of cutaneous lupus. Most doctors agree, though, that successful treatment often depends on what strain of lupus you have.

Don’t persist in using ineffective treatments

Systemic lupus can cause outbreaks on various parts of your body so that you may have an outbreak on many parts of your skin, or in an isolated location. For that reason, the same treatment isn’t always right for each case. A salt spa is a treatment that some patients use, for example, when dealing with isolated lupus outbreaks on the skin. This treatment can reduce redness and sensitivity on the skin, but might not be as effective for those who have a large-scale outbreak.

Medicines such as lenalidomide treat the effects on your skin

Lenalidomide is a cancer drug that seems to have no side effects for people living with lupus but is effective at dealing with inflammation and redness. If instead of a spa or local treatment you’d like to seek a medicinal treatment, this can be effective. Hydroxychloroquine is another drug that’s been used for treatments in the U.S. for years. Its reintroduction to Japan as a treatment for lupus has provided fresh clinical trials that doctors are using to judge its effectiveness on lupus patients.

Avoid excessive sunlight exposure

There’s one general tip we absolutely recommend for taking care of your skin: try not to sit in the sun or any excessive exposure to direct sunlight for long periods of time. Sunlight can inflame lupus and lead to large rashes on the skin, even under normal protection like your hair. In fact, in cases where a rash spread under a patient’s hair, the rash often weakened the hair follicles until the excess sunlight ended up making their hair fall out entirely.

Natural remedies

Because lupus leads to inflammation and excess heat under the skin, cool environments are a natural way to help. Another way to treat your skin is to consider using essential oils, or natural treatments that restore moisture to your skin. The chemicals in moisturizers and lotions can sometimes interact badly with your skin, so consider natural alternatives and ask your doctor what might be appropriate for your particular skin condition.

Living with lupus provides a series of health challenges, but doctors are developing more techniques to keep you and your skin healthy through it than ever before. Making sure your skin stays hydrated and healthy using certain moisturizers or treatments is a good first step. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, and use doctor recommended treatments to deal with inflammation. And where those are ineffective, consider alternative treatments that may help with lupus-specific skin problems.

Written by, Jess Walter