Lupus, Skin Care, and Makeup

How to care for your skin when you have lupus.

From the WebMD Archives


Although no other brand incorporates Mexoryl, sunscreens with added antioxidants provide an additional layer of defense, Sherber says.

For women with tumid lupus, a rare type of skin lupus that makes a person sensitive to sunlight, Sherber recommends sunscreens containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that reflect light. For touch-ups during the day, she recommends keeping a powder with sunscreen handy.

Sherber also recommends donning sun-protective clothing, especially to protect the chest area. "Your basic white T-shirt only has SPF 4," she says. You can buy clothing that has built-in SPF protection or use products that are designed to wash SPF into your clothing.

Putting Your Best Face Forward

Some women with lupus get a telltale butterfly rash across the face. To treat this rash, your doctor may prescribe a topical anti-inflammatory immunosuppressant cream such as pimecrolimus (Elidel) or tacrolimus (Protopic).

Moisturizers can also be helpful for dry skin, but don't get rid of red marks unless they have some green tinting, says Victoria Werth, MD, a dermatology professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a member of the Lupus Foundation of America's Medical-Scientific Advisory Council.

To cover up lupus-related scars for darker pigmentation, she recommends a thick concealer like Dermablend or Covermark Cosmetics. Other lighter cosmetics can be used to camouflage lighter marks, she says.

Lupus advocate Greene says she favors the product line from Nicole Paxson Cosmetics, whose founder has lupus. She likes how the bronzer gives her that sun-kissed look without the UV risk. She also uses the line's "pudding", a super-thick foundation, to cover up any bruises that appear on her arms or legs.

Greene admits there are some days when it's hard to get out of bed, much less worry about what you look like when you're going to the grocery store. But she says, "Sometimes, if you look good, you can feel better."

Sherber suggests finding nonirritating skincare products that contain antioxidants like Vitamin C, which can neutralize free radicals and minimize inflammation. Make sure that it comes in an opaque bottle, she adds, so that the antioxidants are still active when it reaches your skin.