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What causes a lupus skin rash?

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Quick Answer

A lupus skin rash is usually caused by three types of lupus skin disease: chronic cutaneous discoid lupus, subacute cutaneous lupus and acute cutaneous lupus, explains the Lupus Foundation of America. Because lupus is a skin inflammation disease, one natural result is a skin rash.

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Full Answer

Chronic cutaneous discoid lupus produces round sores and rashes on the skin that have a thick, scaly appearance, states the Lupus Foundation of America. Although this rash doesn't itch, it can cause scarring. Because the rashes and lesions often manifest on the face and head, they can cause hair loss. Some people with this type of lupus tend to develop lupus on other parts of the body such as the organs. To deal with discoid lupus, people who have it need to avoid direct sunlight or wear sunblock as the ultraviolet rays can worsen the condition.

Subacute cutaneous lupus also produces round and scaly rashes and lesions that occur on parts of the body most exposed to sunlight, but they do not create scar tissue, says the Lupus Foundation of America. However, the skin does darken or discolor. Acute cutaneous lupus acts much like subacute lupus in that the rashes do no scar, but discolor. In the case of acute lupus, the rash takes on a sunburned appearance and usually appears on the face. This can be treated with corticosteroid medications.

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