Lupus and a healthy skin care routine go together like Tacos and Tuesday. Well, minus the fact that one carves up images of margaritas and good times, whereas the other conjures, in my mind at least, images of dried skin, red rashes, sun sensitivity and bizarre sores anywhere and everywhere on the body.
Whether you have cutaneous skin lupus that tends to affect the skin mostly, or you, like me, and have SLE (systemic lupus erythematous), at some point you will need to add a dermatologist to your arsenal.
For me, SLE spells big challenges when it comes to keeping clear and healthy skin, especially my face and any oil-producing pore on my body. I am going to share with you some of my research in trying to maintain healthy skin while juggling the everyday symptoms of lupus.
I have a steroid cream that works wonders when I am in the middle of a flare-up, but for a morning and night ritual, I wash my face and neck with Alba All Natural papaya face cleanser, then I use their papaya moisturizer. It feels like silk on the skin and seriously smells good enough to eat. I am a big proponent of aromatherapy for overall health and wellness, but the scent is just a bonus when it comes to this company’s products.
Bridget’s Top 5 Tips to Healthy Skin
1. SLEEP, SLEEP and more SLEEP!
Before the day can even begin, you have to get through the night. Even those without lupus need an adequate amount of sleep in order to keep their skin healthy, but for those of us with lupus not getting enough ZZZs can bring on anything from a terrible mood to a terrible flare-up.
2. A Healthy Morning Routine!
While I do love coffee freshly steeped in my french press, it tends to give me terrible anxiety and set my day on edge. If I really need a pick-me-up, I opt for organic green tea with honey. It’s much healthier for the body than coffee with an added bonus of being loaded with antioxidants. Since I suffer from nausea on most mornings, it’s imperative that when I wake up I eat a quick, small breakfast with a little bit of weight to it. Whether it be my favorite strawberry-vanilla granola, or a bagel with cream cheese and a slice of tomato, skipping breakfast should never be an option. Well, at least not a smart one.
Yes, I had to throw exercise in because we all know that staying active is key to maintaining a healthy mind and body. BUT, did you know you can create small habits of activity that give you just the right amount of exercise without throwing you into a flare-up? Yoga has been a godsend to me, mostly because, unlike going to the gym and using exercise equipment in front of people who look like TV superstars, yoga can be done in your home using your own body weight as the counter balance. Start with 15 minutes of stretching and light yoga every other day and build up as you gain comfortability. When I am in a flare-up and need to take it easy, I walk the dog. It sounds like it wouldn’t make a dent, but every little bit counts. The biggest thing is to be careful, and go easy. Being active doesn’t have to hurt. In fact, it should feel pretty darn good when all is said and done.
4. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Whether you realize it or not, the signs of dehydration are quick to attack your skin. Skin that is dehydrated tends to look dull and drab so make sure you’re getting the six-to-eight glasses of water a day that your body needs. A quick trick to make drinking water a little more bearable is to make lemon juice ice cubes. Its a nice treat for your tastebuds that not only quenches your thirst and hydrates your body, but it also acts as a gentle intestinal cleanse.
5. No sun exposure!
Seems a little silly to be getting that bikini body ready just so you can skip the beach, but alas, you must skip the beach. For a lupus patient, the sun can be more damaging than even the harshest chemicals. Add an SPF to your favorite scented lotion so you don’t forget you’ve sunscreen on, and cover up whenever possible. I keep an umbrella in the car for sunny days and have learned to enjoy dancing in the rain.
If you haven’t seen a dermatologist yet, do yourself a favor and make an appointment. Skin care is one of those things that we can have greater control over. With a little work, we can actually de-stress our lives, live with fewer flare-ups, and have much healthier skin.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.