How to diagnose a lupus face rash

Written by ashlee simmons
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Lupus is a debilitating, autoimmune disorder with an unknown cause. The condition can show itself in different ways and ranges from mild to lethal. One of the classic symptoms is a butterfly rash. The butterfly rash extends across the bridge of the patient's nose and cheeks. Typically, the rash becomes worse with sun exposure. Lupus is complicated and difficult to diagnose, so seek professional help if you experience symptoms.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Know the symptoms. Lupus often shows itself as a butterfly, or malar, rash on the face. This rash covers the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. It is typically red, although it can be like a faint blush. Normally the rash does not cause itching but it will intensify with sun exposure.

  2. 2

    Contact your physician. Make an appointment to see your doctor if you think that you have lupus. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and a series of blood tests to determine your condition.

  3. 3

    Receive treatment. Your doctor may prescribe steroidal creams. Because these creams can cause tissue breakdown over time, usually a mild form is used, and only when the patient is experiencing a flare up. Steroidal creams help the most with itching, although in some cases they can reduce inflammation.

  4. 4

    Avoid sunlight. Stay out of the sun, as sunlight causes your immune system to work harder to slough off dead cells. Autoimmune disorders cause healthy tissue to attack itself, hence the malar rash on your face.

  5. 5

    Protect your skin. If you must be in the sun, use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Shield your face with a hat, use lip balm that also contains an SPF and minimise sun exposure.

  6. 6

    Boost your immune system. Eat a healthy diet complete with fresh fruits, vegetables, and high fibre. Avoid processed foods, sodium, alcohol, nicotine, and stress. Take vitamins and supplements as recommended by your doctor. Get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night, pamper yourself with extra rest during a flare-up and drink plenty of water.

Tips and warnings

  • Many people live with lupus and have mild symptoms that do not affect their quality of life.
  • Lupus is a serious, autoimmune disorder that needs immediate diagnosis. Many conditions and illnesses share symptoms with lupus, and diagnosing the condition can be frustrating. Only a health care professional can help you through this time and you need attention to improve your outcome.

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