Sunscreen and other measures should be used in people with lupus
Photosensitivity is the term used to describe sensitivity to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight and other light sources, such as indoor fluorescent light. Photosensitivity can cause rashes, fever, fatigue, joint pain, and other symptoms in people with both cutaneous (skin) and systemic lupus.
In an effort to describe the pathogenic relationship of UV exposure and lupus erythematosus (LE) and discuss effective protective measures, investigators recently reviewed multiple studies (Ahluwalia J et al, Lupus 2019). 40 to 70 percent of people with lupus will find that their disease is made worse by exposure to UV rays from sunlight or artificial light. The current available data showed substantial clinical and experimental evidence supporting the use of broad-spectrum sunscreen as an effective photoprotection measure to prevent UVR-induced damage in photosensitive adults with LE was found.
“Although studies evaluating the efficacy of sunscreens and protective clothes in children with lupus have not been performed, it is very highly likely that these measures are effective in protecting both adults or children with lupus. Regardless of age, people with lupus who have any photosensitivity should use sunscreen, wear sun protective clothing, and avoid the sun”, remarks Karen H. Costenbader, MD, MPH, Chair of Lupus Foundation of America Medical-Scientific Advisory Council; Director of the Lupus Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston; and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Learn about protecting from UV exposure.