Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus
What is Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus?
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus is a type of lupus that affects the skin. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack healthy tissues. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus can cause different types of rashes, such as red, scaly, round or ring-shaped patches. These rashes often appear on the face, ears, scalp, neck, chest, arms or trunk. They may be itchy, painful or cause scarring and discoloration.
What are the signs and symptoms of Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus?
The signs and symptoms of cutaneous lupus erythematosus vary depending on the type of cutaneous lupus. Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Red, scaly, round or ring-shaped patches on the skin, especially on the face, ears, scalp, neck, chest, arms or trunk.
- Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure.
- Pain, itching or burning sensation in the affected areas.
- Scarring and discoloration of the skin (skin can turn darker or lighter).
- Hair loss, which may be permanent if the scalp is involved.
- Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon).
What are the causes of Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus?
Some factors that may trigger or worsen cutaneous lupus erythematosus include:
- Genetics: Some people may have a genetic predisposition for lupus, which means they inherit certain genes that make them more likely to develop the disease.
- Environment: Some environmental factors, such as infections, certain drugs, or sunlight, may activate the immune system and cause it to attack the skin.
- Hormones: Some hormones, such as estrogen, may play a role in the development or progression of lupus. Women are more likely to have lupus than men, and some women may experience flares of lupus during pregnancy or menstruation.
What treatments are available at the dermatologist for Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus?
Some treatments that are available at the dermatologist for cutaneous lupus erythematosus are:
- A corticosteroid: This is a type of medication that can reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. It can be applied to the skin as a cream, ointment or gel, or taken as a pill or injection.
- An antimalarial medication: This is a type of medication that can prevent or treat malaria, but also has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. It can help clear skin rashes and prevent lupus flares. The most common antimalarial medications used for cutaneous lupus are hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.
- A biologic medication: This is a type of medication that can target specific molecules involved in the immune system. It can help reduce inflammation and prevent organ damage. Two biologic medications that are sometimes used for severe cutaneous lupus are rituximab and belimumab.
These treatments may have different side effects and interactions, so it is important to consult your dermatologist before starting or changing any medication.
FAQ About Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus
What are the main types of cutaneous lupus erythematosus?
The main types of cutaneous lupus erythematosus are Acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus & Chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus.
What are the potential complications or outcomes of cutaneous lupus erythematosus?
The prognosis of CLE depends on several factors, such as the type, severity, duration and treatment of the disease. Some types of CLE, such as acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ACLE) and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), may resolve spontaneously or with treatment. Other types of CLE, such as DLE and lupus profundus (LP), may persist or recur despite treatment. The prognosis also depends on the presence or absence of systemic involvement. CLE that is associated with SLE may have a worse outcome than CLE that is isolated to the skin. The prognosis also depends on the development of complications
What are the common triggers or risk factors for developing cutaneous lupus erythematosus?
The common triggers or risk factors for developing cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) are Genetics, Hormones & Environment
What are some tips or advice for living well with cutaneous lupus erythematosus?
Protect your skin from the sun and artificial light every day. Use sunscreen, clothing, hats and sunglasses to block UV rays. Avoid sun exposure and fluorescent lights as much as possible. Quit smoking if you smoke. Smoking can worsen your skin condition and reduce the effectiveness of some treatments. Follow your treatment plan and take your medications as prescribed. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment or side effects.
Is there a dermatologist near me in Milwaukee that offers treatment for Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus?
Yes. At our Milwaukee dermatology office we offer treatment for Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus to patients from Milwaukee and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.