Have you been diagnosed with lupus? If so, you may want to make an appointment with Innovations Stem Cell Center to talk about photosensitivity and how it can affect your condition. Photosensitivity is a trigger for many people living with lupus and can cause flares of painful symptoms. Learn more about photosensitivity and how it can affect your condition in this blog.
What Is Photosensitivity?
Photosensitivity is defined as sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) light, including those UV rays emitted by the sun and other light sources, including tanning beds.
How Does Photosensitivity Affect People Living with Lupus?
Although photosensitivity affects each person living with lupus differently, many people experience flares in their lupus symptoms after exposure. This may mean the development of rashes and lesions, fatigue, joint pain and body aches, and headaches. Other individuals may feel as if they have flu-like symptoms after prolonged UV exposure.
Photosensitivity can affect people living with both systemic lupus and cutaneous lupus.
Protection from UV Light
People living with lupus can minimize their risk of photosensitivity by limiting exposure to the sun and other UV light sources. These steps include:
Wearing a mineral-based, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 70. Mineral-based sunscreen contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which means it protects against both UVB radiation and UVA rays. UVB is what causes sunburn and skin cancer; UVA causes sunspots and aging skin. Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly and correctly, and include places such as the tops of your ears, nose, hands, chest and neck, as these areas are often overlooked.
Wearing sun-protective clothing. If you have to be out in the sun, take care to wear long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from UV exposure. Consider wearing a hat to protect your face, too.
Limit time of exposure. Limit how long you are in the sun. You can also reduce your risk by avoiding the sun during its peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Avoid tanning beds. If you think that because a tanning bed is not the sun and you will be safe from UV rays, think again. Tanning beds are not a safe alternative and may increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
But, What About Vitamin D?
People living with lupus are frequently deficient in vitamin D, a vitamin made by the skin as a result of sun exposure, so wouldn't lupus sufferers want to get more sun? No, because of the risk of symptom flares.
There are other ways to get vitamin D, such as eating fatty fish and foods fortified with vitamin D, such as cheese and eggs, or taking vitamin D supplements.
Are you living with lupus? Find out how fat stem cell therapy from the Innovations Stem Cell Center can help to minimize your painful symptoms and help alleviate photosensitivity. Call 214-256-1462 for more information today.