Lupus and how to help your skin.

This week a new patient that is suffering from Lupus approached me. This beautiful looking woman and a gracious personality has been suffering for many years and is looking for help to manage her skin and to help reduce the physical signs of her disease. This disease is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age (15-44)  women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians. Lupus is not contagious, or related to HIV or cancer.

Unfortunately it is found that approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will develop some type of skin disease, called cutaneous lupus erythematosus. This can cause rashes or sores (lesions), most of which will appear on sun-exposed areas such as the face, ears, neck, arms, and legs. This is one disease that is not helped by exposing oneself to the sunlight, actually many (40-70 %) people with lupus will find that their disease is made worse by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight or artificial light.

What are the Causes Lupus
The underlying trigger to developing these antibodies in lupus is unknown, although experts believe that a combination of genetic, environmental, and possibly hormonal factors are involved. The fact that lupus can run in families suggests that there is a genetic basis for its development

Cutaneous Lupus – skin disease can occur in one of three forms:

  1. Chronic cutaneous (discoid) lupus – appears as disk-shaped, round lesions, often red, scaly, and thick. Usually they do not hurt or itch. Over time, these lesions can produce scarring and skin discoloration (darkly colored and/or lightly colored areas). Discoid lupus lesions can be very photosensitive so preventive measures are important.
  2. Subacute cutaneous lupus – may appear as areas of red scaly skin with distinct edges or as red, ring-shaped lesions. The are not itchy but can cause dis-colouration and are also phot sensitive.
  3. Acute cutaneous lupus – lesions occur when your systemic lupus is active. The most typical form is a malar rash–flattened areas of red skin on the face that resemble a sunburn. When the rash appears on both cheeks and across the bridge of the nose in the shape of a butterfly, it is known as the “butterfly rash.” However, the rash can also appear on arms, legs, and body. These lesions tend to be very photosensitive.

Preventative Outbreaks

  • Know your triggers – stress, sun, hormones, cosmetics and foods
  • Avoidance/protection from sunlight and artificial ultraviolet light
  • Sunscreens — physical – especially with zinc as zinc is a great skin healer.

Treating Cutaneous Lupus during breakouts

The male hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), produced in the adrenals, seems to help and may reduce the need for prescription of topical steroids like prednisone. Many doctors will prescribe topical steroids during breakouts and they should only be used for a very short term as there are many side affects that may out weight the benefits. Plus there is a new class of drugs, called topical immunomodulators, that can treat serious skin conditions without the side effects found in corticosteroids that have been shown to suppress the activity of the immune system in the skin, including the butterfly rash, subacute cutaneous lupus, and possibly even discoid lupus lesions. Another prescription drug is, thalidomide that has been shown to greatly improve cutaneous lupus that has not responded to other treatments.

Beauty Treatments for Lupus patients.

Seeking treatment to manage your lupus should be a critical part of your beauty and health regimen. Work with your skin specialist and doctor to reduce the blemishes and to prevent future outbreaks. “Figuring out what works best for you is will be trial and error as each patient will react differently depending on the type of lupus.” To help with the skin during non active times light micro-abrassions, light chemical peals, RF to reduce the scaring and dis-colouration of the skin. Also hydrating masks and LED therapy treatments can be delivered both during breakouts and remission periods.

If you want to have major procedures like Botox, laser and medium to heavy chemical peels It’s important to coordinate these procedures with your lupus specialist and skin speciallist to make sure that your lupus is under control and in remission as some procedures can increase the risk of the Koebner phenomenon, in lupus patients. It is recommends that patients undergoing procedures take a disease-modifying agent, such as an antimalarial drug, to avoid the Koebner phenomenon

Skin care for Lupus Patients

  1. The most important is a high quality of Zinc based sunscreen.
  2. A combined Vitamin C and E Serums
  3. Vitamin A night cream
  4. Some reaserch has shown gold is also great for lupus sufferers
  5. A Good protective moisturizer with great ingredients like joboa oil, coconut oil, olive oil and even honey.
  6. Witch Hazel based astringient with Aloe Vera and Essential Oil with Calendula, Chamomile Jewelweed, Wild Pansy can be use especially during breakouts.
  7. Makeup. Mineral makeup is great but also for full cover look for a camaflouge makeup like dermablend.

Nutrition that may help with lupus.

Lupus tend to wax and wane, and full remissions are possible. Take a good multivitamin/multimineral supplement with recommended dosages of antioxidants. To help address inflammation, increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids, ginger and turmeric. Some studies have shown a alkaline diet can help with the inflammation. Foods to avoided are polyunsaturated vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower, corn, etc.), margarine, vegetable shortening, and all products made with partially hydrogenated oils. Also reduce your sugar and high process foods.

To all that suffer of lupus please find yourself a skin therapist that understands your skin disease. Your specialist will be able to work with you during breakouts and remission periods and will help reduce the scaring and dis-colouration of your skin from breakouts and be their to help you to rebuild your confidence about your skin and appearance.

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debra spence
Debra Spence is a Qualified Medical Aesthetician, Cosmetic Scientist, Lecture and Author. Owned of an Australian National Award Winning Medi Spa. Now is concerntrating on Education of Skin and Skincare plus provideing advance treatments to her private patients. Plus developing Zen Dejour a Result Based Cosmeceutical Skincare Range and Dermal Solution Private Lable Professional Skincare.

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