Living with Lupus: Enjoying Sunlight While Avoiding Flares


Sunlight, be it natural outdoors or artificial indoors, is typically associated with happiness and comfort. It is even believed to help mitigate depression for many. However, with bright light can come complications and painful side effects for the 1.5 million Americans suffering from lupus, 90% of which are women.

While lupus affects people in different ways, research has shown that two-thirds experience photosensitivity, meaning their skin is very sensitive to ultraviolet rays. This not only means the sun, but also includes artificial lighting indoors from fluorescent lights, photocopiers, and tanning beds. Rather than simply experience skin redness or a sunburn, sunlight exposure can cause flares for those with lupus. The symptoms may range from rashes and skin lesions to fatigue and joint pain.

This happens due to the fact that lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. A healthy immune system regularly flushes your body of old or defective cells. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, a number of your skin cells die. This is why too much sunlight causes sunburns. Among those with lupus, their immune systems have trouble getting rid of these dead cells. Those dead cells end up causing a rash and, if the sun exposure is very extreme, it can not only cause inflammation in the skin, but also in your internal organs, joints, and muscles. Certain medications and antibiotics can also increase one’s photosensitivity. This means that protecting yourself from ultraviolet light exposure is a daily and essential element of lupus management.

Protecting yourself from ultraviolet light exposure doesn’t mean you have to avoid going outdoors or hiding from fluorescent lighting at work. Luckily, with advancements made in sun protection, you can enjoy life without worrying about a potential flare or painful symptom.

While sunscreen is a go-to sun protection accessory for most people, you may want to play it safer with more advanced protection methods. Why isn’t sunscreen the best option for you if you have lupus?

For one, most people don’t wear enough sunscreen. And secondly, most people don’t forget to reapply every hour or so. This can prove risky unless you diligently apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day. For women, sunscreen is also not ideal for daily wear all day, every day. Many sunscreens are thick, greasy, and can clog pores. And if you have sensitive skin, it can be difficult finding one that doesn’t irritate your skin.

A better option is UV wear. By wearing clothing with UPF protection, you are protected from ultraviolet lighting for as long as you are wearing the item. The sun protection never fades and there is nothing to reapply. Even better, you can save you quite a bit of time because you don’t have to slather on layers of sunscreen multiple times a day.

Today, there are a number of UV wear options on the market. For women with sensitive skin and who don’t want to sacrifice style for protection, Sundriven® is a great match. Sundriven® offers anti-aging, sustainable, and fashionable UV wear for women. Made from an eco-friendly botanical fabric, it is comfortable for even the most sensitive skin. With items from gloves to scarves to dresses, you can protect your skin all day, every day, whether you’re at the office, relaxing at home, or out at the park.

Living with lupus doesn’t have to mean a life without sunshine. With UV wear, you can enjoy your day, indoors and outside, without damaging your skin and experiencing painful flares.

Author: Melissa Darcey

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