Lupus Skin Care Tips
Almost all patients with Lupus exhibit some sort of skin symptom. Thus taking care of your skin is essential in both preventing and minimizing your lupus flares. Here are some tips that will help you take care of your skin:
- Reduce your exposure to the sun and to some sources of artificial light (especially fluorescent and halogen bulbs). The skin of people with lupus is very sensitive to the UV light that comes from these sources.
- Limit outdoor activity between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This may mean a big change in your lifestyle if you work or play outdoors a lot.
- Wear sunscreen on exposed areas of skin. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. To be sure that your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays, look for one labeled broad-spectrum protection, or look for ingredients such as micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that block both UVA and UVB.
- Wear sunscreen all year round and on cloudy days as well as on sunny days. Also wear it indoors if you spend a lot of time in a room with many windows (UVA rays can penetrate glass).
- Wear protective clothing, such as hats with wide brims and clothing made of tightly woven material. Thin, loosely woven material allows UV light to penetrate to the skin. If you are very sensitive to the sun, you may want to try specially designed UV- protective clothing.
- Be aware of fluorescent light and halogen lamps. Found in many places, they include floor lamps, overhead lights, photocopiers, and slide projectors. Sunscreen and protective clothing can help. If you work in an office that has fluorescent lights, ask whether you can remove the bulbs directly over your work area, and use a desk lamp if necessary.
- Tell your doctor immediately if any rash or sore appears or gets worse.
- If your doctor prescribes a medication for your skin condition, be sure to take it as directed.
- Try rinsing your mouth with salt water and eating soft foods if you have mouth ulcers. A number of other treatments and preparations are available to treat mouth ulcers as well as those in the nose and vagina.
- Avoid preparations or medications you know will make your skin condition worse. These might include products such as hair dyes and skin creams. Also, some drugs can make you more sensitive to the sun. These include tetracycline antibiotics, diuretics and, ironically, some of the drugs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine) used in lupus treatment. Be particularly conscious of sun protection if you are taking any of these drugs.
- It’s okay to wear makeup, but try hypoallergenic brands. A brand that also includes UV protection would be good to use.
- If you have Raynaud’s phenomenon, dress warmly in cold weather. Pay particular attention to keeping your hands and feet warm. Keeping your home warm will also help prevent an attack. Avoid smoking, caffeine, and stress – all of these can contribute to Raynaud’s phenomenon.
- If you have trouble maintaining a positive attitude about your appearance or your lupus, call your doctor or nurse to discuss your feelings and concerns.