Many things affect your skin; diet, the sun, skincare routine, and even illness. May is also lupus awareness month; a condition like lupus also affects one's skin. It's baffling how diseases like lupus can hurt your skin, and sometimes all you can do is the best you can.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system will be compromised as it attacks healthy tissue that protects your body. Lupus is known for attacking internal organs (like kidneys, heart, or lungs), joints, and skin. Your body will have a hard time fighting against common illnesses like the cold or flu as it can advance to a much more chronic condition.
No one knows what exactly causes lupus. It has been shown that it can run in families. Doctors think it can develop from environmental or hormonal triggers. Lupus, however, is not contagious, and you, as the patient, can live with it which medical treatment.
Since lupus can affect different parts, symptoms can vary. The most common symptoms are:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Pain or swelling in the joints
- Sensitivity for sunlight
- Chest pain when breathing
- Hair loss
- Butterfly shaped rashes on cheeks or around the nose
Different Types of Lupus
- Systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE)- This is the most common form of lupus. SLE can cause inflammation of multiple internal organs or organ systems in your body.
- Cutaneous lupus- A form of lupus that affects the skin.
- Drug-induced lupus- caused by certain prescribed drugs
- Neonatal lupus- This is a rare type of lupus that affects infants from mothers who have lupus.
How does it affect your skin?
Cutaneous lupus affects your skin, and it can be the first symptoms that people can see. Cutaneous lupus can cause butterfly rashes on the skin that can appear on the cheeks and the nose. However, it can appear anywhere your skin is exposed to the sun. These rashes can either be painful or scaly if they are severe. You can also develop coin-shaped sores all over the body. These sore and rashes can be more prone when this skin is more exposed to the sun over time.
Some may mistake these rashes for psoriasis if not consulted by a professional. These rashes don't cause scarring but can either darken or lighten the skin where they are. To determine if you have lupus, a professional will take a sample from you.
What can you do?
Depending on the type of lupus you are dealing with, the care for the lupus-related skin condition. A majority of the treatments will be suggested by your medical professional, which is why it is best to consult them first. They will prescribe topical treatments or creams that can help make the skin condition easier. Topical treatments can also make the situation less apparent.
If you have to be out in the sun, SPF is crucial to protect your skin from the sun. With lupus, your skin is a lot more vulnerable than an average person. SPF will protect your skin from damaged from the UV rays in the summer months. Put SPF in your car or your bag; If you have to, you will need it.
UV rays are dangerous to the average person, so imagine their effects on your skin with lupus. If you are out and about, try to wear protective gear. Protective gear will keep your skin safe from the sun. The UV rays can only get so far when wearing protective gear. Please take to the shade when you can. The harsh sun is brutal on the skin.
Apply sunscreen every day before going outdoors. The sunscreen should offer Broad-spectrum protection, SPF of 30 or higher, and water-resistant. To get the protection you need, apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before you step outside and slather sunscreen on all skin that will be exposed to the sun, such as your face and hands. Wear sun-protective clothing every day and seek shade when outdoors.
Lupus is a challenging illness, but it can be managed. You can still live a fulfilling life and undergo treatment when you have to. Be mindful of the sun when you are outside. Remember to put on SPF of a level 30 or higher to give your skin the utmost care before having fun in the sun. Make sure you are visiting your doctor frequently so you can get the treatment you deserve, especially when it comes to your skin. You will need those topical creams or medicines to keep the rashes and lesions at bay during the warmer months. If you know someone who has lupus, be mindful of showing them as much love as you can. During May, please take care of yourself if you are living with it, and don't forget to live life to the fullest.