Skin problems are very common in lupus and many different types of problems can occur. The reasons why lupus affects the skin are unclear. It is known that antibodies and other proteins that are used to fight infection are deposited in the skin inappropriately and cause inflammation. It is also known that proteins within the skin of those with lupus are more sensitive to ultraviolet rays contained in sunlight, resulting in inflammation if exposed.
One of the main ways in which those with lupus can help themselves is to avoid sun exposure. This means covering up with long sleeves and trousers in the sunlight and wearing a hat if out in the sun for any length of time. One tip that we received was;
“Be prepared to get long-sleeved tops throughout the winter because when it gets to summer, you can’t find any!”
The use of UV film on windows may also be necessary for those who are particularly sun-sensitive. Sun block cream, minimum sun protection factor (SPF) 25, should be applied to exposed areas of skin, although many patients will require higher protection. Sun blocks are available on prescription, so ask your doctor for them. These creams need to be applied regularly and repeatedly as they wear off over time. Sunbeds should never be used as they give a concentrated dose of ultraviolet light, which can be very damaging to those with lupus, fake tans are a safer alternative. If a rash develops that does not clear up rapidly then it should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible as a delay in treatment may result in scarring.
If you have scarring that affects your confidence, then you might consider Skin Camouflage. Skin Camouflage is a proven method of using medically-based concealing cosmetics that are specially formulated to disguise scars, birthmarks, tattoos and skin conditions. Skin Camouflage is not just used by women, but by men and children too.
Skin Camouflage consultations are available to some patients on the NHS. These were previously provided by The Red Cross, who established the programme in 1975. It is now provided by Changing Faces.
Changing Faces’ trained volunteers can teach people how to self-apply specialist cover creams. The creams are fully water-proof and are mostly available on prescription. They have a range of resources and guides available from;
Changing Faces also have their own community here on HealthUnlocked.
We asked you to provide your tips and experiences for Skin Camouflage. It seems that some of you have had good experiences with Changing Faces/The Red Cross in the past;
-“I used The Red Cross skin camouflage and they’re excellent.”
-“I used The British Red Cross as I was referred to them by my GP. They were excellent.”
A few of you told us that you use Fake Tan to help disguise scars on the body:
-“The skin on my legs is very scarred through lupus. The spots and nasty boils that healed, with the help of Hydroxychloroquine, are now replaced with scarring – lots of nasty marks! In the winter time I don’t worry too much about this as I am mainly in long pant/jeans etc…but come spring/summer we all like to feel air on our skin, so about once a fortnight I swear by a good spray-on tan. Some say it’s rather expensive…well I cut back on other things and think that for the few months we may get nice weather, it is worth it.”
-“I do find skin tan lotion helps even it out a bit, but for darker, stubborn scars you can get body foundation as well, which is useful on special occasions.”
We also received some recommendations of certain products from you;
-“I use Estee Lauder face and body double wear foundation – best one I’ve found.”
-“I use the skin camouflage makeup given to me by the hospital (Keromask and Dermacolor) and it gives me a lot of confidence. The only drawback is how long it takes the chemists to get my prescription. I can order it and it can take between 3 to 6 weeks.”
- “For my face, all year I have found a magic mineral make-up powder – made by Jerome Alexander. Just a few swirls of the brush in this magic make-up and my face is camouflaged. It has little coloured bits in it eg. Green is for redness, the purple is for brightness etc. You can buy from ASDA, Wilko’s…a few places have it now - £19.99. Not dirt cheap, but it goes a long way. P.S. It’s shower proof but not waterproof, the only drawback. It does look very natural though.”
-“Veil camouflage make-up is available on prescription. It’s not bad either.”
-“I am currently testing Vichy Labs Dermablend, together with Rosaliac UV moisture cream. So far results are good. No reaction, but I find the blend a little heavy. Other people have also noticed and agreed that the make-up does help.”
-“Dermablend is very good”
-“I popped into Debenhams to spend my beauty points and went to the BareMinerals counter and asked to try the mineral foundation. The friendly lady found the correct complexion (always had been an issue to get this right), and she matched it perfectly. It took no more than 3 minutes to apply my full face and you can top up areas which need more coverage easily with a smaller brush really quickly. The results were great. It felt like I wasn’t wearing anything and most importantly it covered my red butterfly rash and dark scars. It’s £24 for a pot of the foundation mineral, but she said that should last a year at least, so it was cheap in my opinion – I could easily finish a liquid foundation in 3 months for the same price and that’s not including concealer and powder too. So far it’s lasted all day. Tomorrow I will try to apply it myself before work, but so far I would highly recommend it.”
-“BareMinerals make-up is good for natural cover and not irritating your skin – I use it and swear by it.”
Thank you to everyone that submitted their tips and feedback for this topic. We apologise if your submission wasn’t included. Unfortunately we don’t have space for everybody.
If you try any of these products for the first time please let us know how you find them. We’d love any feedback from anyone that tries Skin Camouflage for themselves or uses the service provided by Changing Faces.
***Please note that this article is written for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Do not delay seeking or disregard medical advice based on information here. Always seek the advice of your local family physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment. It is also advised that you consult a medical professional before making any changes to diet or starting alternative remedies, which may interact with other medications.***