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Discoid lupus is a type of autoimmune skin disorder that causes painless, discolored bumps and lesions on the face, scalp, or neck. The condition and its underlying causes are not entirely understood by doctors, and there is currently no cure. Most people can, however, manage their symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks with established discoid lupus treatment techniques. Individuals with mild problems often find relief by avoiding sun exposure. More serious conditions may require topical corticosteroids, oral medications, or surgical discoid lupus treatment.
Most people who have mild or infrequent outbreaks of lesions are instructed to protect their skin from sunlight as best as possible. Wearing hats and sunglasses can help to protect the face and scalp. High-strength sunscreens are essential, even on cloudy days, to limit exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays. In addition, some people are susceptible to lupus flares when they are exposed to intense heat or cold. Staying indoors when outside temperatures are extreme may be recommended.
Cosmetics help many people with mild discoid lupus feel better about their appearances. A person may want to consider using camouflaging makeups or wigs to conceal badly damaged areas of the face or scalp until they have time to heal. Covering up skin lesions can increase self esteem and possibly reduce stress, which some studies suggest is correlated with worsening outbreaks.
A prescription topical steroid cream is the most common form of medical discoid lupus treatment. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in active lesions and lead to quicker healing times. Ointments containing retinoids are also effective acute treatments for some patients. Chloroquine, an oral drug that is usually given to treat malaria, can help to prevent severe discoid lupus from becoming a systemic problem that affects internal organs. Other medications that a doctor may try include immune-system suppressing drugs, gold compounds, and oral steroids.
Surgical discoid lupus treatment is reserved for large lesions that are resistant to medication. A precision laser device is used to burn and kill damaged cells within a lesion to promote faster healing. Some cases of severe discoid lupus result in permanent scarring and hair loss on the face and scalp. In such instances, a dermatologist may be able to surgically excise areas of scar tissue to reduce the size of permanent marks.
It is important for a person who believes he or she may have discoid lupus to visit a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis. A careful examination of skin lesions and blood tests analyses are used to rule out other possible causes of skin problems. The doctor can also check for a more serious type of lupus that affects internal organs as well as skin. After making a definitive diagnosis, the physician can explain different discoid lupus treatment options in detail.
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