For patients who deal with lupus, skin changes become almost as common as changes in the weather. As your Wilsonville skin doctor, our team at Valley View Dermatology understands the frustration many patients with lupus feel when it comes to keeping their skin looking and feeling its best. Fortunately, you can help to better protect your skin and cover-up some of the blemishes cause by lupus by using the following tips.
Don’t Underestimate the Need to Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Exposure to UV rays can often trigger skin problems for patients with lupus, such as a butterfly-shaped rash that develops across the cheeks and nose. UV rays can also trigger patches of raised sores or even make symptoms of the disease worse.
Both UVB and UVA rays can cause rashes to develop. To try and reduce your risk for developing a rash make sure to:
Use sunscreen daily. Even if only taking a short walk around the block, you always need to apply sunscreen if heading outdoors. You need to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. To make sure your sunscreen provides adequate protection against both types of UV rays check the label to see if the product contains avobenzone or mexoryl (chemical blockers) or zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (physical blockers).
Once outside, make sure to reapply sunscreen at least once every 80 to 90 minutes, or more frequently when swimming or heavily sweating. For those wearing makeup, try applying sunscreen before your makeup and reapply with tinted zinc oxide powder.
Also consider staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, usually between 10 am to 4 pm, when sunlight is at its strongest. If exercising outdoors, try finding times early in the morning or in the late afternoon/evening.
Stay covered up. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside. Also, try using UV-filtering sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
Take additional precautions when taking medication. Some types of drugs can make you more sensitive to sun exposure, such as anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. Check with our Wilsonville skin doctor about whether your medications could increase your sun exposure.
Treating Rashes and Sores
If you have developed a butterfly-shaped rash on your face or other types of rashes on your body, ask our Wilsonville skin doctor if corticosteroid creams, gels, injections or ointments may be able to help.
Uneven skin color, scars, and blotches can also be the result of lupus. Makeup makes an excellent option for covering up this type of rash. Try using makeups with a green hue to offset any redness. Bleaching creams that contain hydroquinone can help to remove dark spots.
If you have scars that appear pitted or lumpy, your Wilsonville skin doctor can inject a filler to help even them out. You may also want to consider laser therapy for the removal of dark or red spots. However, these types of treatment options are only available if your lupus is not active, so you’ll need to receive a doctor’s approval.
You may also notice that your lupus causes a change in color to the fingertips, transforming them blue, white, or red while in the cold. This is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon. To help alleviate this problem, always wear socks and gloves when out in cold weather or when sitting in an air-conditioned room.
Try using over-the-counter hand warmers by keeping them in your pockets for warming your hands, and try to avoid cigarettes and caffeine, which can make the problem worse.
Dealing with lupus can feel exhausting when it comes to keeping your skin looking great. But with the help of our Wilsonville skin doctor, you can fight back against lupus this spring and beyond.