Systemic Lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease, produces a butterfly rash as one its first symptoms. In this condition, the immune system starts attacking the body's organs and cells, rendering them damaged and dysfunctional in many cases. A rash caused due to this condition can be seen on the body parts such as the face, arms, legs, and the chest. Besides systemic lupus erythematosus, there are a number of other health conditions, which can even produce this rash. The following are some causes, which can produce a butterfly skin rash in a person, followed by the symptoms and treatment for the same.
Butterfly rash appearing on the face could be due to a skin condition known as rosacea. In this condition a red colored rash appears on the cheeks, forehead, and the nose. The affected skin might have bumps, and it could even get inflamed. Rosacea occurs when the skin is exposed to sunlight, extreme hot or cold climatic conditions, or when a person is stressed. It may also be caused due to a bacterial growth in the small intestine.
This skin infection is caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. Its symptoms include, fever, blisters, inflammation of the skin, skin lesions, and sores on the cheeks as well as the nose. In this condition, rashes develop on the face and other body parts, including the legs.
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
This condition develops in the body, when the immune system starts attacking the normal skin by mistake. Commonly experienced symptoms of this skin condition are rashes on the face (which are scaly), scalp as well as ears, itching, and redness on the affected skin area.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
As mentioned above, systemic lupus erythematosus, can be damaging for body organs, such as, the liver, kidneys, skin, brain, and blood vessels. The rash it produces is devoid of any kind of pain or itchiness, however, there might be a burning sensation felt at times.
The symptoms of a lupus butterfly rash can be mild in some people while they can also be severe in others. The rash in the shape of a butterfly can be scaly in severe cases, and can be just a patch of light red or pink colored skin in other cases. Whether it is a rash on the neck or chest, if it is exposed to sunlight, it can become worse, and might even spread to other body parts. Another factor that makes the symptoms severe, is stress. A person, who has this rash, and is under tremendous stress or anxiety, might see his condition worsening.
Butterfly skin rashes caused due to lupus have no permanent cure. The only thing medical treatment can do is, reduce their flare-ups. Doctors usually recommend non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs as well as antimalarial drugs to minimize the symptoms. Sometimes, immunosuppressive medicines might also be prescribed, if the symptoms get severe by the day. Application of topical cortisone creams helps in minimizing the rash. For the ones caused by Rosacea, taking oral antibiotics or applying them in a topical form, aids in reducing the inflammation and redness of the rash.
An effective home remedy is to apply olive oil or vitamin E oil on the affected skin, leaving it on for twenty minutes, and then washing off with cold water. For rashes, which have spread to all the body parts, taking a bath with water, in which, oatmeal has been added will help in quicker healing.
Along with the treatment, taking certain precautions, such as, not stepping out in the sun in the peak hours, applying sunscreen with SPF 30 and above, when going out in the sun, and eating a vegetarian diet, which is low in fat, will help in preventing the symptoms from getting worse.