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Cutaneous Lupus

RM Lupus

A condition that is autoimmune, lupus creates a situation where the body goes after healthy cells and tissues.Normally, the body produces proteins known as antibodies which protect and fight against illness; however lupus makes it hard for a body’s immune system to classify between antigens and healthy tissues. While systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is themost common type of this disease, there are those who suffer from cutaneous lupus, a form that affects only an individual’s skin. This type of lupus can be further classified into three main categories: acute cutaneous lupus (ACLE), chronic cutaneous lupus (CCLE), and subacute cutaneous lupus (SCLE).

Acute Cutaneous Lupus (ACLE):A rash that predominantly shows up on the face, it can be red or purple,andappears in disk or circle shapes. ACLE creates what is referred to as the ‘butterfly rash’: a rash which develops on the cheeks and down the upper, bony part of the nose.Rashes can also appear on the neck, mouth, scalp, or even the genital areas.

Chronic cutaneous lupus (CCLE):CCLE affects skin of an individual’s face only. The rashes, coin-like in shape, occur often on the scalp or outer ear. Reddish pink in color, one can also develop flakes on the top of their skin due to the condition. As CCLE can progress rather quickly, it is strongly recommended to visit a doctor and seek treatment as soon as an individual spots this type of lupus; early dedection and treatment is key.

Subacute cutaneous (SCLE):SCLE can be classified into two types, with the first one being a condition that is sensitive to increased sun exposure. The rash may look like red pimples or scaly patches to begin with. As it progresses, the pimples and scales grow larger. These rashes tend to develop on an individual’s shoulders, neck, arms and lower back; and can experience mild to server itching. The second type of SCLE can be described as a ring-shaped rash, with the outer edges bright red in colour. As time wears on, the red lightens to produce numerous reddened areas with tiny holes in the middle. These can develop on the face, neck, chest and arms.

Unfortunately, women are more susceptible to cutaneous lupus, and it develops in those aged 20 to 45. While it can occur on its own, it has been known to develop hand-in-hand with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Sadly, there is no cure for this disease; however diagnosis and medicationscan help symptoms. This is why, much like with many other conditions, getting diagnosed early on will help an individual battle this disease, and prevent future complications. As the condition looks so different from each person, dosages and medical treatments vary.