Lupus is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system of the body becomes hyperactive to the pint of attacking healthy cells, tissues, and organs of the body. This leads to the damage of the skin, joints, blood cells, heart, lungs and the brain. Normally, the immune system recognizes pathogens in the body and destroys them. However, in the case of lupus, the protein that is responsible for this recognition is faulty. This means that the antibodies cannot tell the difference between healthy cells and pathogens. This makes them attack healthy cells, leading to pain, and other manifestations. One of these is the lupus rash.
What are the types of lupus rashes?
1) The mildest rash is the butterfly, or malar rash. This is associated with 40% of lupus sufferers. It is a rash that spreads across the cheeks and bridge of the nose to form a “Butterfly” shape.
2) Subacute cutaneous lupus lesions are divided into two types. The first looks like red pimples as the rash develops and it is very sensitive to the sun. As the rash persists, the pimples become larger and the skin begins to form scales. This rash can appear on the face, chest, arms, legs, etc. It causes severe itching. The second type is the formation of flat lesions, which gradually expand outwards. The rash will eventually look like red circles since the centre of the rash becomes lighter. The rashes appear on the face, arms, chest, legs, back, etc. The rash is also sensitive to sunlight and is very itchy. Once it disappears, the patient may have a non-depressed scar or de-pigmentation in the area where the rash occurred.
3) Chronic cutaneous lupus lesions (DLE, Discoid lupus erythematosus) occur in about 20% of people who have lupus. This is found in people who do not have systemic lupus, but only suffer from chronic discoid lupus. In this type of lupus, the only organ that is attacked by antibodies is the skin. In this type of lupus internal organs are never harmed. The rash causes lesions which occur in the scalp leading to hair loss. These can also be found beneath the chin, bit very rarely. They also occur on the outer ear, and hardly ever in the legs. The rash starts off as elevated red sores, which later form crusts or flakes on the skin surface. As the lesions mature, the central part becomes depressed and form scars over time. As they get larger and spread outwards, the central part becomes scarred. People with cark skin will experience de-pigmentation in the affected areas. This type of rash can leave the patient heavily disfigured in the face, and requires aggressive and immediate medical attention.
What is the treatment for lupus rash?
This condition can be treated just like any other rash. Firstly, lupus does not yet have a clear treatment, and you may suffer from the rash from time to time. The treatment of the rash simply includes managing it whenever it flares up. Nutritionists say that proper eating habits can help stave off the effects of lupus.
Use steroidal creams – The steroids help in reducing the inflammation caused by the lupus rash. You will not have to scratch the affected areas and there will be less pain. However, the use of these creams should be minimal since they reduce the thickness of the skin. They also cause blood vessels to widen and should be used minimally, especially if the rash is on the face. If you use them on the face too much, you will end up have a flashed look on your face.
Use calamine lotions – Calamine has the properties of reducing the inflammation on the rash. Look for emollients that have calamine in the contents.
Oatmeal baths – you can use oatmeal baths to help treat the lupus rash. You can get the oatmeal from a pharmacy. Use it in warm or tepid water, since hot water will only serve to inflame the rash.
Aloe Vera – use Sloe Vera creams to help soothe the skin where the rash has occurred. If possible, you can get freshly cut aloe Vera from the garden and use the gelatinous sap for application to the affected areas.
Drugs – You can use drugs that have anti-inflammatory properties. These can be prescribed by your doctor together with other medication to help reduce the rush.
Prevention is better than cure, so it is best that you find ways of preventing the flare-up of the lupus rash. Lupus sufferers have found that nutrition pays a great role in the management of the condition. If you eat healthy food, you will control the effects of lupus as well as reduce the flaring up of the lupus rash. This is a condition that is still being researched and all you can do is manage well.
Lupus Rash Pictures