Cutaneous Lupus

Cutaneous lupus may be categorized into three main entities: chronic cutaneous lupus (CCLE), subacute cutaneous lupus (SCLE) and acute cutaneous lupus (ACLE). Lupus may be seen as a spectrum, with CCLE on one end and systemic lupus (affecting other organs and systems) on the other end. It is critical to see a dermatologist to properly evaluate the extent of skin involvement versus systemic involvement, as they do not always directly correlate.

Lupus can cause skin diseases, including erythema and sores that appear on sun-exposed areas.  This disease often affects women ages 20-50. It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system's antibodies attack the skin cells. The rash can be provoked by sun exposure, and it is worse in smokers. Unsightly red scaly patches occur with post-inflammatory pigment. Cheeks, nose, ears, the upper back, the V of the neck, and the backs of the hands are most often affected.

Common Treatment Options

Treatment includes the following options

  • Steroid cream
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents
  • Medication that suppresses your immune system
  • Retinoids
  • Pimecrolimus cream
  • Antimalarial medications

If you have lupus, avoid the sun and wear sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or greater. A healthy life style reduces flare-ups of the disorder, so get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet.