What You Need to Know About Discoid Lupus

Prevention Discoid Lupus Flare-Up Strategies

Preventing discoid lupus activity and flare-ups can be a very effective treatment strategy. Prevention is easier than treating the disease once a flare has begun. Avoiding sun exposure and limiting stress to the body are both helpful prevention techniques.

How to Reduce Sun Exposure

Staying out of sunlight whenever possible is the best option for those with photosensitivity from discoid lupus. However, it’s not feasible for anyone to completely avoid sunlight. Using protective measures when exposed to sunlight and seeking education about other sources of UV light will help to limit skin issues.

It’s important to use a UVA and UVB blocking sunscreen (Neutrogena with helioplex is often recommended for people with lupus) and to apply sunscreen correctly. Covering up bare skin as much as possible and wearing UV blocking clothing is also recommended. Another useful item in the wardrobe of someone with discoid lupus is a good sun hat with a wide brim.

Some states also allow for extra dark window tints on vehicles for people with photosensitivity, which can be a great tool for any photosensitive person that drives regularly. Other resourceful measures for avoiding sunlight include carrying a large umbrella or seeking shady spots when outdoors. Discoid lupus sufferers can be creative about how they avoid UV rays.

People with discoid lupus should learn about when avoiding sun exposure is most important in their region. Ultraviolet rays can be stronger at certain times of day and during certain seasons. It’s also possible to be exposed to sunlight on cloudy or rainy days, which may surprise some people.


Fluorescent lighting emits UV rays that can be harmful to people with photosensitivity, especially if they are exposed frequently (such as daily exposure in an office setting). Be careful when visiting big box stores that often have uncovered fluorescent lights, as these are more problematic than ones that have a cover.

Limiting Stress

Stress comes in many different forms. A difficult work situation, emotional trauma, a packed schedule, or a surgery can all cause stress to a body. Cutting down on all types of stress can help to minimize discoid lupus activity.

Smoking is particularly bad for people with discoid lupus due to hydrazine, a chemical in cigarettes that is known to cause lupus flares. Cigarettes and their smoke should be avoided – even in the form of secondhand (or thirdhand) smoke – if at all possible.

Ideally, medical treatments will assist in putting discoid lupus into remission and prevention strategies will help keep it in remission. Each person with discoid lupus needs to develop a unique treatment plan, along with their doctors, that helps them to minimize disease activity and keep their skin healthy.

Living With Discoid Lupus

There are many people throughout the world living with discoid lupus – including the musician, Seal. He developed the disease in his teens and had significant scalp and cheek involvement; his doctors needed to remove muscle tissue from his face during his treatment. Fortunately, his lupus has been in remission for several years.

Seal has communicated throughout several interviews that his discoid lupus scars, which he’s had since his early twenties, initially depressed him. Now, however, he has learned to appreciate them as a unique feature of his face and has expressed that he likes them. The scars on Seal’s face do stand out to his fans and have certainly have been one of the strongest proponents of discoid lupus awareness.

While this condition can be terribly difficult to cope with, there is a good chance that those with it will only have skin involvement – it’s unlikely that they will need to worry about the internal health issues that can occur with SLE. Discoid lupus doesn’t have to severely limit one’s life, either; there are many strategies for living an active life and even traveling with photosensitivity.

Taking advantage of modern medical treatments, prevention strategies, available educational tools, and connecting with others who have the illness will help anyone with discoid lupus live their best life.


American Academy of Dermatology (How to Apply Sunscreen)

The Globetrotting Teacher (How I Travel the World with a Sun Allergy (and How You Can, Too)

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