Cutaneous lupus erythematosus is a form of lupus in which symptoms are limited to the skin and can cause various types of skin rashes. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when your body defense system attack its own healthy cells. Approximately 10% of people with cutaneous lupus erythematosus will develop systemic lupus (please also visit: systemic lupus erythematous) or potentially already have systemic lupus. There are three main categories of cutaneous lupus: chronic cutaneous lupus (CCLE), subacute cutaneous lupus (SCLE) and acute cutaneous lupus (ACLE). The type and location of rashes vary greatly depending on which form a person has. It is important to treat these lesions as they can become progressively worse and turn into skin cancer.
The primary cause of this condition is exposure to sunlight and most often affects women between ages 20-50. Prevention measures include the use of sunscreen or other barriers to prevent exposure to the sun (such as hats) as well as avoiding excess sun exposure during peak hours. Treatment may consist of steroid creams, injections and/or oral antibiotics to treat the skin symptoms. It is important to see a specialist to determine if other systemic symptoms may be present. Management of this condition requires a team of doctors. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with cutaneous lupus erythematosus, talk with your doctor and specialist about the most current treatment options.