top of page

What is the Lupus Rash?

Updated: Apr 18

Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting millions worldwide, and 9 of 10 of those people affected are women. It is a complex disease and it can affect nearly every part of the body.

One of the most recognizable symptoms of lupus is the lupus rash. We'll start with what is the lupus rash, its symptoms, potential causes, and how to manage it ...

What is Lupus Rash?

The lupus rash, also known as a malar rash or butterfly rash, is a distinctive skin rash that appears on the face. It is called a butterfly rash because of its butterfly-wing shape, spreading across the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. It usually isn't in the folds of your nostrils.

photo of the face of african woman with lupus malar rash on cheeks

photo of a white appearing woman with lupus malar rash on face, eyes closed

It's important to note that not all individuals with Lupus develop this specific rash, and its severity can vary. Also, it can appear differently on different skin colors and tones.

Symptoms of Lupus Rash

  1. Shape and Appearance: The lupus rash typically presents as a red or purple rash across the cheeks and nose, forming a butterfly-wing shape.

  2. Sensitivity: The rash is often sensitive to sunlight and can worsen with sun exposure. This is known as photosensitivity.

  3. Texture: The rash may feel raised or scaly to the touch, and it might feel itchy or painful.

  4. Duration: Lupus rashes can be temporary, appearing and disappearing over days or weeks, or they can become chronic, persisting for a more extended period of time.

Causes of Lupus Rash

The exact cause of the lupus rash is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the autoimmune nature of lupus. In lupus, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, including skin cells, leading to inflammation and skin changes. Exposure to sunlight can trigger or worsen the rash in many individuals with lupus, highlighting the role of UV radiation in its development.

Management and Treatment

While there is no cure for the lupus rash, there are several strategies for managing and reducing its severity:

  1. Sun Protection: Sunscreen with a high SPF, protective clothing, and hats can help prevent flare-ups triggered by exposure to sunlight.

  2. Topical Treatments: Your dermatologist may prescribe topical corticosteroids or other creams to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.

  3. Oral Medications: In cases of more severe rashes, oral medications like antimalarials or immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed.

  4. Avoid Triggers: Identifying and avoiding triggers that worsen the rash, such as certain medications, stress, or dietary choices, is crucial.

  5. Consult a Specialist: It's essential for individuals with lupus to work closely with their healthcare team, including dermatologists, rheumatologists, and other specialists, to manage their symptoms effectively.


The lupus rash is a common symptom of lupus, though not all individuals with the disease will experience it.

If you or someone you know has lupus and is experiencing a rash, seeking medical advice and following a personalized treatment plan can help manage this aspect of the disease and improve overall quality of life. Remember, you're not alone, and there is support available to help you navigate the challenges of living with lupus.

Ready to feel better and clear up your skin? Schedule time to speak with me today!


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page