Discoid lupus erythematosus (also called chronic cutaneous lupus), is a disease that affects the skin. It’s an autoimmune condition that occurs when your immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks your body. The specific cause of discoid lupus is unknown. However, genetics, infections, and environmental factors are suspected for playing a role in autoimmune conditions.
Symptoms, Treatment, and Smoking
The most common symptom of discoid lupus is red or purple round lesions (sores) on the skin, and these scaly lesions may cause pain or itching. The most common locations for these lesions are your face, ears, and scalp, but they aren’t contagious. Like other forms of lupus, women of childbearing age are most commonly affected.
While discoid lupus isn’t curable, a dermatologist or rheumatologist can help you manage the condition with appropriate treatment. Medication therapy may include topical steroids as well as anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing drugs.
Prompt treatment of this condition will help to minimize skin scarring, hair loss due to scalp scarring, and changes to the pigment of your skin. Quitting smoking can also help to minimize discoid flares since smoking can reduce the effectiveness of lupus medications.
Avoiding UV Radiation
Sun exposure can trigger lesions to erupt on the skin or cause existing lesions to worsen. Tanning beds and some indoor UV lighting can also contribute to skin eruptions. In addition, some medications prescribed for treating discoid lupus may contribute to a more severe UV response. Avoiding UV radiation can help to minimize discoid lupus flares.
Discoid lupus lesions can raise your risk of skin cancer, and lip lesions require special attention due to a higher risk of squamous cell cancer. But you can help minimize your risk of discoid skin flares and skin cancer by significantly limiting your sun exposure.
Following are sun-safe tips to help shield your skin:
• Sunscreen is a vital component of your daily UV protection plan. Select a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 70. Reapply liberally every two hours to any exposed skin, more often if you are sweating or swimming.
• Protective clothing that fully covers your arms and legs is essential. Stock up on UPF 50+ clothing that is lightweight and breathable to keep you cooler in warm weather. UV Skinz offers a full selection of UPF 50+ apparel for the entire family.
• Wide brim hats that are tightly woven protect your face, neck, and ears. For even better protection, consider a hat with a UPF 50+ rating.
• Wraparound sunglasses with a 100% UVA/UVB label is important for shielding your eyes as well as the delicate skin around them.
• Seek shade and steer clear of the harshest UV rays from 10 am to 5 pm. Shade options include umbrellas, well-canopied trees, roofed shelters, and many others.
• Sun-shielding accessories can add even more coverage and peace of mind when you go outdoors. UPF 50+ scarves, sun sleeves, gloves, and wraps are just a few items to add to your sun-safe wardrobe.
While discoid lupus is a complex condition to manage, it shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. With solid sun protection, you can participate in all the activities of a full life. A sun-safe plan that includes UV Skinz UPF 50+ apparel and accessories will help you do just that!