View Full Version : New here/skin problems

07-23-2009, 01:44 PM
I have been suffuring from allergic reactions to the sun for at least ten years now. The rash started on my arms and just this year has spread to my legs, shoulders, neck, and under my eyes. It is so itchy all I do is scratch non-stop even in my sleep. I recently went to the hospital for chest pain. They said I was having anxiety attacks, but they also found a nodule on my lungs and numerous cysts on my spleen (too many to count). My dermatologist did a blood test and it came back positive for cutaneous (SP?) Lupus. I have been taking 400mg of plaquenil for about two weeks now. I was also given Eucerin Calming Cream to put on my skin but it burns and stings so bad I can't use it. I have yet to find anything that helps. I have never come across other people who have this problem with their skin. I was wondering if anyone has found anything that helps take the itch and pain away. I cannot stand this anymore. It is affecting every second of my life. I am sick of all the questions from strangers, Do you have poison ivy? It is depressing to look at myself. I used to be attractive but am now covered in scars. Does it get any better from here?

07-23-2009, 02:25 PM
If you do, indeed, have cutaneous Lupus, the Plaquenil will help greatly. The problem is that Plaquenil is a cumulative drug and, as such, can take weeks to months before you can see results. But, once it does start working, most find that it is very effective. All forms of Lupus causes us to have severe sensitivity to the sun. Sun exposure can worsen our rashes, cause us to have a flare-up of the disease and/or cause new symptoms to appear. It is very, very important that we avoid exposure to the sun. To do this, most of us slather our bodies in sunscrees (minimum 35 SPF for UVA/UVB). We also wear lightweight, loose fitting clothes that covers our bodies from head to toe. On top of this, we wear big hats in the summer with sunglasses. You will find that your rash worsens as a result of sun exposure.

Eucerin is usually prescribed for itching sking caused by dryness (not lupus rash). So, I am not surprised that it is not really helping you and/or that it is aggravating your rash. In most cases, topical steroids are prescribed to help resolve rashes. Also,your rash may require oral or injected steroids to bring the rash under control and then you can use topical steroids. Using these treatments in conjunction with the Plaquenil usually works very well on healing the rashes. If these treatments have no effect, then your doctors may prescribe other drugs such as azathioprine or cyclosporin. These drugs are often given for other problems in lupus also, such as kidney disease but they can be given for the skin alone in difficult cases.

You should know that there are many different skin problems that can occur in lupus, and they can vary from person to person. The 'classical' skin problem in lupus is the butterfly rash. This is a red rash, sometimes no more than a mild blush, that occurs across the bridge of the nose and on the cheeks resulting in a distinctive butterfly-like appearance. The Butterfly rashes tend to come and go depending on how active the underlying lupus is but it does not leave scars as it heals.

Discoid lupus is a type of lupus that tends to be confined to the skin and other organs in the body are not involved. Discoid lupus occurs in patches across the body. These patches tend to be well defined, thickened and scaly, they are slightly red in colour and can itch. The appearance can vary between people and also on different areas of the body on the same person. As the patches heal they tend to leave scars and on darker skins the pigment in the skin can be lost leaving white areas. If discoid lupus occurs on the scalp the hair will be lost as the patches heal leaving permanent bald areas.

Subacute cutaneous lupus (probably your case) is a distinct rash that usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of the body. It starts as scaly patches which increase in size to form circular areas which gradually heal up without leaving scars. This type of lupus falls in-between the systemic form and the discoid form: people with subacute cutaneous lupus often have some of the blood abnormalities found in systemic lupus and frequently joint pains, but they do not usually develop the serious complications that can occur in the systemic disease.

Practically any type of rash can occur in systemic lupus ranging from widespread mild rashes similar to those seen in viral illnesses such as German measles, to small distinct patches of rash on the elbows and knees resembling another skin condition, psoriasis. Two particular problems that can occur are panniculitis and urticaria. Panniculilis is inflammation of the fat below the skin resulting in tender red lumps beneath the surface of the skin; these heal slowly over time and can leave dimpling of the skin when fully healed. Urticaria (hives) is an itchy raised red rash similar to nettle rash that can occur with vasculitis or on its own; it heals without leaving scars.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you. Pleas let me know if you need anything further! I wish you the best and hope that you get some relief soon.

Peace and Blessings

07-23-2009, 02:34 PM
Hi Kris0607,

First I would like to welcome here at WHL. I am sorry you have to go through this. I don't have alot of skin involvement, just very minor irritation, but I have Livedo Reticularis( fishnet like purple skin discoloration),on my arms and legs. I do get ask alot by people, why my skin lookes like that and it is anoying, but it does not bother me as much as it used to. I am hoping that Plaquanil will help you, but it can take months, before you get any benefits from it.


07-23-2009, 02:59 PM
Hi Kris - I have had problems for years and years with patches of "bumps" on various areas of my skin. I don't know if they are the same as what you get so I will try to describe mine...

Doctors have referred to them as boils and lesions but basically they resemble a patch of bad pimples but feel nothing like pimples. They are typically on my face, neck and shoulders but I also get them other places that don't seem to be sun related. For example, when I had kidney pain and ended up with a kidney infection I had a patch on my lower back and another time had a patch on my upper thigh when I had a bladder infection.

For a long time, when I would get a patch on my face (usually my chin) or neck I would try an acne cream (even though I didn't have much acne in high school and this didn't seem like acne to me...but I was willing to try anything to get rid of them!). Well...the acne cream would make them burn/sting so, so, so bad. The patches of bumps were miserable - itchy and painful at the same time and I would try so hard not to scratch them but it was impossible. I have so many scars - some from patches I had years ago.

Since I've been taking plaquenil, the bumps are almost non-existent. My husband is amazed at the difference in my skin (now if it would only start helping the fatigue!!). I am also on another anti-malarial medicine called Mepron for a tick transmitted disease (Babesia). I was on Mepron before the Plaquenil and my skin actually started improving while just taking the Mepron but I think it's improved even more since I've been taking Plaquenil.

Don't know if this is the the same problem you are having but thought I'd share my experience in case it sounds similar to what you are going through.

I hope the Plaquenil will begin to give you some relief!! Oh...and I also sympathize with the embarrassment of it. Many times I've used the "Oh, I was outside and must have missed that spot when I sprayed myself with bug spray. Darn mosquitos."


07-23-2009, 08:14 PM
Hi! First, let me say welcome. I also have rash issues. The worst one lasted for months. They are all over, but mostly my arms, fingers, legs, eyes and of course, cheeks. I can't use most lotions when I am rashed out either. Too much fragerance/dye/addatives/whatever makes my skin feel like burning off when I put it on. The only cream that works for me when I am rashy is Cetaphil. It's free of all the fragerances and dyes and actually feels soothing, briefly. I am not on Plaquenil and don't have any permanent suggestions, but I will say that I am beginning to find a link between what I eat and how my skin feels. Hope this helps a little.

07-25-2009, 12:01 AM
Thank you all for your responses. I am not sure if my rash sounds like any of these. I have a few spots that I would call patches. But on my arms the bumps cover every inch from my fingertips to my elbow. If I were to tell someone I must of missed that spot with the bugspray they would probably think I was a little nuts:wacko: Or I just got attacked by a million mosquitos. (Maybe I will try that one after all. Give myself a little laugh.) The rash also lasts from the begining of spring to the middle of fall and really doesn't seem to let up.
Thank you all for giving me some hope. I will have to try the Cetaphil. Change my lightbulbs and be even more careful when I go in the sun. I hope this Plaquenil works soon!!
I go back to the Dermatologist this next week so I will find out more then. Thanks for all the encouragement and information. I am glad I found you guys!

07-26-2009, 09:23 PM
hi kris,

i just want to welcome you to our family....you have already been greeted by some, and you have received a wealth of knowledge from saysusie. I hope you feel a little better about everything.

let us know how your dermatologist appointment goes.

07-28-2009, 05:17 PM
Just wanted to add my hello. I hope you get some relief very soon.


07-30-2009, 10:19 PM
I have Good News! The Plaquenil seems to be kicking in. My face and arms are starting to clear up. I am still itching like crazy, but there is a noticable difference. My dermatologist said that she thinks it is only the cutaneous form ( which doesn't explain the lung nodule or the spleenic cysts.) So for now we are going to go with what appears to be working. She did start me on predinsone. I also have low vitiman D. I know I have fatigue but it seems to come and go, some days better than others.
I also think I might have a little brain fog. Example: I took my son to preschool a few weeks ago and forgot his shoes. I had to drive all the way home to get them and take them to him.