A Patient's Guide to Rosacea
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Lupus Erythematosus

Lupus erythematosus is considered to be an autoimmune disease-one which causes the body's immune defense to incorrectly attack its own cells. In addition to being a relatively uncommon condition, its symptoms are varied, and often mimic the symptoms of other more common skin conditions. These facts make proper diagnosis difficult, and the disease is often not confirmed for some time. Lupus symptoms are often seen on the skin, but the severity of disease varies from individual to individual. For some, the disease is localized to a small part of their skin; for others, it may attack internal organs.

Symptoms specific to lupus:

Butterfly rashes: Redness of the cheeks in a butterfly formation are called butterfly or malar rashes, and are a hallmark feature of a variant called systemic lupus erythematosus. This can be confused with redness of rosacea, so if you suspect something may be wrong, confirm with a dermatologist.

Discoid Lesions: Coin-shaped lesions on the face and ears can sometimes be seen in those with lupus. These lesions can cause scarring and should be monitored by a doctor. In rare cases more severe systemic involvement may also occur. These lesions have clear borders and will differ from the redness of rosacea.

Subacute cutaneous lesions: These are red and scaly lesions that react to sun exposure. Although these lesions tend to be non-scarring, they can still cause significant cosmetic concerns. These lesions can be a precursor for systemic involvement.

Non-specific symptoms:

There are several others symptoms, which, while not specific to lupus, may provide a hint that lupus may be behind it. Hair loss and vasculitis or inflammation of the blood vessel is a common problem among those with lupus.

When to see a doctor:

Both rosacea and lupus can have a significant impact on a patient's quality of life, and both are chronic conditions. If you notice any reddening that persists, or suspicious lesions, see a doctor as soon as possible.