Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus

Another type of lupus that a person could have is called cutaneous lupus erythematosus. This type is divided into three other sub-groups which include sub acute lupus erythematosus, acute lupus erythematosus and chronic lupus erythematosus which is also known as discoid lupus.

The symptoms are an outbreak on the skin of rashes, ulcerated sores on the mouth and sometimes the nose and an increased sensitivity to sunlight which in itself may cause rashes.

One of the most common types of rashes is what is referred to as the butterfly rash. This one usually is seen across the face, on both cheeks and is joined together by the rash going over the nose; this is what gives it the butterfly affect. This kind of rash can be light pink in color to dark red and will be either raised or flat on the face.

Discoid Rashes

The discoid rash on the other hand is very different in appearance. The rash areas are either round or oval in shape, raised, red and scaly in appearance. Despite this they do not feel itchy nor do they cause any pain. Sunlight will definitely cause an eruption and will worsen those that are already there.

Unfortunately when this rash heals it leaves behind scars. This kind of rash has another ill effect on the skin. They can affect the pigmentation of the skin where the rash is and make it lighten or darken.

Sub acute cutaneous lupus has similar rashes to the discoid lupus. They are also sensitive to the sun, but the difference is that they do not cause scarring when they heal. They also can be found anywhere on the body not just the face and head area.

Fortunately, with any of these types of lupus, which really affect just the skin, there are not the same kinds of concerns about potential organ damage.


When these rashes are diagnosed their appearance is not enough to decide whether the person has lupus or not. Tests must be run. The best method of diagnosis is a skin biopsy. This can be done by a dermatologist since it is these health care providers who specialize in skin diseases.

Treatment will likely begin with creams or lotions put directly on the rashes. If this does not prove to be successful then the next step will be a shot of corticosteroids. This shot would be right into one of the rashes.

If the rashes are covering the body a shot into one of them may not be enough and so instead corticosteroid medication will be prescribed to be taken orally. It is also possible that anti-malarial drugs will be prescribed.

It can happen that a person who suffers from one of these less serious types of lupus will see the disease develop into the most common and most serious type of lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus, and so the health care provider may suggest some basic living changes to try to avoid this occurring. Following these steps, no smoking or drinking, eating healthier, staying out of the sun and taking vitamins, can help.