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Summer rays & lupus

For many, the warmer days, blue skies, and sunshine are a welcome sight. However, for those who live with lupus photosensitivity, the lack of cloud cover and intense summer rays can be difficult to manage. In fact, they can cause so much discomfort that many choose to draw their curtains and hibernate until the changing of the seasons.

We thought we would give you some helpful tips to bring you out of the dark and hopefully allow you to enjoy the sun.

Photosensitivity Tips:

Outdoor UV’s

There are two basic types of rays in sunlight: UVA and UVB. Though UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn and most skin cancers. However, there are approximately 500 times more UVA rays in sunlight than UVB rays, so it is important to find a sunscreen that protects against UVA since most tend to focus on UVB.

Additionally, it is important to "schedule your sun." Try to stay away from direct sunlight between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm. UV rays are especially intense during those hours and at higher altitudes, particularly around snow or water.

Indoor UV’s

As mentioned above, just because you are indoors does not mean you are safe from UV exposure. Uncovered fluorescent and halogen lights and even copy machines have lighting mechanism that can emit UV rays which cause lupus photosensitivity.

Thankfully, there are shades, filters, and light bulb covers that are available to offer protection from indoor UV rays associated with artificial lighting. Look for shields with readings of 380-400 nanometers, which filters all UV types.

It is important to choose light bulbs that have the lowest possible irradiance (intensity). Try LED bulbs! Though there is not a ton of evidence to draw on regarding a decrease in photosensitivity, many lupus patients believe LED bulbs have little effect on their lupus. Try using UV-blocking shades to cover windows and prevent sunlight from streaming in.

Also, wear tightly woven clothing that covers your skin and a wide brimmed hat inside when visiting brightly lit places.

UV Protection:


Protecting yourself from the sun can help prevent lupus flares, so it is important to use a broad spectrum SPF AND wear sun protective clothing. Most doctors would recommend using at least an SPF of 70 or above that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

UV Protectant Clothing:

Research clothing brands that guarantee UPF 50+ clothing and accessories. UV protectant clothing is great for swimming, outdoor activities, and more.

Vitamins and Supplements:

Regarding vitamins and supplements, it is best to always discuss taking anything with your doctor or health care professional.

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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