Malar Rash

Lupus is a disease that causes many types of different symptoms. One of the most common symptoms that appears in lupus patients are rashes on the body and face. The malar rash occurs with 45-65% of lupus patients. The facial rash received it's name from Latin origins, the word "mala" means "jaw" or "cheek bone," the main area affected by the rash. The malar rash extends across the face and bridge of the nose and forms the shape of a winged insect. That is why some refer to it as a buttefly rash.

Malar Rash Causeshow do youi get Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes an inflammation of the skin and joints. Lupus is a chronic disease, but the symptoms, like a malar rash, come and go in what are called lupus flares. The underlying cause of these rashes and other skin irritations is the lupus disease.

There are some environmental factors that can cause a malar rash or other lupus symptoms to appear. Exposure to the sun can trigger a rash or worsen an existing rash. Another common symptom of lupus patients is fatigue. Lupus patients already have a weakened immune system. Constanly being tired can lead to other symptoms like the malar rash.

Typically, we see the presentation of Malar rash on exposed areas of the body, which have been exposed to the sun.  There is not necessarily a connection between Malar Rash and sunburn (although this can certainly trigger a flare) but with gradual exposure over a longer period of time.  So that is the reason for the claasical butterfly rash across the nose where sun exposure has landedon the face.  Malar rash is also commonly presented on the exposed areas of the hands and arms, as well as on the legs, and typically on parts of the body that are unprotected from clothing.

Once Malar rash has presented on the skin, and generally for all people who have been diagnosed with Lupus, it is a wise choice to protect these exposed areas of skin from further exposure to the Sun.  This is particularly important for the prevention of future Lupus flares or ongoing symptoms of Lupus.  Avoidance of continued exposure to the Sun has been associated with reduction in the likelihood of recurring flares and further bouts of Lupus symptoms.

Malar Rash Treatment

The malar rash is not a condition in itself, it is a symptom of a larger problem. In this case, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Therefore, in order to treat the rash, the underlying lupus disease must be treated. Some doctors may treat skin irritations with creams and lotions that contain corticosteroids. Corticosteroids work by immitating the role of the body's natural homone cortisol. By topically applying these ointments topically, the corticosteroids cause a reaction by the body to reduce inflammation. The malar rash is the body's reaction to the lupus disease. The corticosteroids essentially communicate to the body, "take it easy, we don't need a inflammation here."

Treating Lupus with Lifestyle Changes

Other than medical treatments, there are lifestyle changes that lupus patients can make to avoid symptoms such as a malar rash. Avoiding direct sunlight or protecting the skin with a sunblock of at least SPF 55 is recommended. Getting plenty of rest and allowing your body an opportunity to recuperate will help avoid and recover more quickly from flare-ups. Also, eating healthy and getting sufficient exercise give your body the strength it needs to fight the lupus disease and avoid a malar rash.


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