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Can rashes appear on your legs?

Skin rashes are a very common symptom with lupus sufferers but not everyone with lupus will have leg rashes. Not all leg rashes caused by lupus will look the same either.

There is as much variety in how lupus leg rashes feel as in their appearance.

Patients commonly report:

  • A painful burning, crawling, or pin-pricking sensation with their lupus leg rashes.

  • Some people describe it as feeling like a sunburn.

  • Some sufferers report an increased sensitivity to either very hot or cold temperatures, which causes itchy or painful hives, chilblains, blisters, or pimple-like bumps.

  • Some people describe experiencing visible skin changes, while others experience itching or pain without any rashes or changes in colour.

  • Some lupus-related rashes are reported as intensely itchy.

Chronic itching can disrupt sleep, increase irritability and lead to scratching and scarring.

Lupus leg rashes causes

Lupus is an autoimmune condition, which means the symptoms of the disease result from a person’s own immune system attacking their tissues. This can include the skin, resulting in rashes.

The main triggers for lupus-related leg rashes are:

  • Lupus flare-ups

  • Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light or indoor fluorescent light

  • Certain medications

Lupus leg rashes can be unpredictable. Symptoms can come and go, varying with the time of day, different temperatures or stress levels. Without treatment, flares may persist for months or even longer.

The chronic and unpredictable nature of itchiness from lupus leg rashes can increase people’s risk for depression and anxiety.

Many people living with skin lupus have sensitivities to ingredients found in some cleaning and beauty products, albeit perhaps difficult to pin down, knowing which of these ingredients that cause sensitivity can sometimes help lupus sufferers with further flare ups. People with lupus also commonly have other allergies, including skin allergies that can cause contact dermatitis.

People living with lupus who don’t have any allergies may still experience burning, stinging, and irritation from chemicals in many household products if they have open sores or scratched areas of skin. This can make going to new places or trying out new products intimidating, as you may inadvertently come away with a painful or disfiguring rash.

Some patients have reported that the unpredictability of lupus leg rashes has impacted their social life, travel and ability to live their life the way they want so we highly advise to speak to your healthcare provider if leg rashes are bothersome to find ways to help.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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