Lupus disease is caused due to autoimmunity, and it affects different body systems like kidneys, brain, blood cells, joints, heart, lungs, and so on. Due to this, some people develop a skin condition called cutaneous lupus erythematosus, and this causes rashes or sores. Often this appears in areas exposed to sunlight like face, neck, ears, arms, and legs. This can be avoided by covering these areas and reducing exposure to the sun. This article will focus on how lupus affects the skin and the treatment procedures for this condition.
Types Of Cutaneous Lupus Disease
There are mainly three types of cutaneous lupus disease, and they are explained in detail below.
- Chronic Cutaneous Lupus: This condition is also known as discoid lupus because sores in the shape of discs appear on the face and scalp. Occasionally it appears in other parts of the body as well.
- Subacute Cutaneous Lupus: This condition causes lesions in the form of red scaly areas of the skin with distinct edges or as red rings. Often this forms in regions of the body exposed to the sun like arms, shoulders, and legs.
- Acute Cutaneous Lupus: Active systemic lupus causes the formation of acute cutaneous lupus lesions. This appears on the face in the form flattened areas of red skin, also known as malar rash and resembles sunburn. When it appears on the bridge of the nose and the cheeks, it is called a lupus butterfly rash. But the rash can appear in other parts of the body as well.
Treating Cutaneous Lupus Diseases
The medications used for treating cutaneous lupus depend on its type, and in most cases, topical steroid creams or gels are used. Also, in some cases, a liquid steroid is injected directly into the lesions. Nowadays, a new class of topical immunomodulators is used for treating the lesions, and they are safer compared to conventional corticosteroids. These new classes of ointments and creams suppress the immune system’s activity on the skin. So, they are effective for treating lupus butterfly rash, subacute cutaneous lupus, and discoid lupus.
Treatment Approaches For Cutaneous Lupus Disease
Preventions: Avoid exposure to the sun, as well as artificial UV light sources. When going out, use sunscreens, and seek shade as much as possible.
Topical Treatment: Using corticosteroid topical products like creams, gels, ointments, lotions, solutions, foams, and sprays. Using calcineurin inhibitor topicals like pimecrolimus cream and tacrolimus cream; these are nonsteroidal immunomodulators with no side-effects.
Systemic Treatment: Corticosteroids are used for short-term treatment. Antimalarial medicines are also useful for systemic treatment. Apart from these, retinoids, synthetic vitamin A, and sulfones are also used for treating cutaneous lupus disease.
Keep in mind that there are also other treatment options available for treating cutaneous lupus disease.