Sun Exposure in Lupus: Be Sun-Smart

Author: Sandy

Posted On: March 30, 2015

Everyone is aware of the fact that Lupus and Sun are inter-related. Individuals with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus are photosensitive as excess sun exposure in Lupus can trigger symptoms ranging from mild skin rashes or lesions to staid internal organ damages. Safeguarding yourself from harsh sun exposure is a vital part of LUPUS MANAGEMENT  but that does not mean you have to resign from going out in daytime.

Here are certain ways that would protect you from the harsh sun exposure in Lupus and help you live a dynamic sunny day.

Fighting Sun Exposure in Lupus

#1. Understand the Effects of Sun Exposure in Lupus

Be Sun Smart

If you have Lupus, fatigue, joint pain, and rashes are something that has already bothered you time and again. But, have you ever noticed how much exhausted you get after returning home from a 10-minutes walk out in sun? How the butterfly spreads its wings on your cheeks? UV ray is the concealed radiation that comprises of three layers of UVA, UVB, and UVC. Generally, it is the UVB radiation that elicits Lupus in you. Even, UVA is somewhat to be held responsible for it.

Sun Exposure in Lupus can even lead to a big flare up in no time.

#2. Dress in Sun Protective Outfit

Wear sun-protective outwear

The clothes that we wear absorb the sunlight before it reaches our skin; this is how it should be. But, if you are wearing thin, light-shaded, loosely woven textile then it won’t be able to block the harmful UV rays from hitting your skin.

How do I protect myself from the sun?

Clothes made of densely woven fabric don’t let the Sun rays to go by. But, you have to keep your skin covered. Go for full-sleeve shirts, long skirts, trousers and not to forget hats that guard your face.
Now, dark-shade fabrics reflect the UV rays better than the lighter ones. And, polyester or silk fabrics with shine mirror the UV while the unbleached cotton fabric absorbs them. Nowadays, you can shop online specially designed outfits that obstruct the sun. In tropical countries like India, Bangladesh using Umbrella in summer is pretty common and honestly Life-saving.

#3. Sunscreen with High SPF

Tips for Living with Lupus: Use a sunscreen

SPF or Sun Protection Factor is a rating that denotes the sun blocking ability. Higher the SPF, the better. Make sure you have a sunscreen bottle in your bag whenever you are going out. Go for a sunscreen which has the following factors;

> SPF 30 or more than that.

> Hypoallergenic.

> A good sunscreen should be able to block both UVA and UVB.

> Contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide like physical blockers.

However, I suggest that you speak to your doctor and dermatologist before you pick a sunscreen for yourself.


  1. Never forget to test the sunscreen before applying. Apply it on a patch of skin on the inner side of the wrist for any allergy or irritation.
  2. Over the time, the chemical composition of the sunscreen may change when exposed to heat. So store it in a cool dry place.
  3. Never use an expired product or one kept unused around a year.


  1. It is not your face that you should apply the sunscreen on. Back, temple, ears, even your neck are some areas that need your attention.
  2. Again, the SPF rating won’t matter if you apply it lightly.
  3. Apply the Sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you go outside.
  4. If you are getting into the pool, don’t forget to reapply once you are out of it.
  5. Depending on the SPF rating of the sunscreen, you have to apply sunscreen again in every couple of hours.
  6. Don’t be fooled by cloudy or foggy weather; UV rays are still strong. Carry your sunscreen.

#4. Medications


Since you have Lupus, you are receiving certain medications that may cause you phototoxic reactions when you go out in sun. Certain sun-sensitive drugs like NSAIDs, medications for heart problems, certain antibiotics are taken orally or injected may cause photo-toxicity. Speak to your doctor to learn if you take any such medicine that may trouble you in sun. You can then avert sunlight if you know it in advance.

#5. Artificial Light is No Less Harmful than Sun

Artificial lights are as harmful as the UV rays

If you have Lupus, then it is not just the sun you need to protect yourself from. You have to be careful from artificial lights like tanning lights, luminous lights, and others. You can avoid being in those lights, but tanning beds and sun lamps are absolutely NO.


  1. Carry an umbrella all the time. You never know when you would require one. No one can guarantee you shade outdoors.
  2. Sun is strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Avoid being outdoors during that time.
  3. These days you get beautiful windows with solar protection. Get them for your home.
  4. Get UV protection for your vehicle windows.
  5. Wear sunglasses, even your eyes need some protection.

We know that our skin makes Vitamin D from the sun, but with Lupus, it is not a good idea at all. Moreover, it increases the risk of skin cancer in others. But, Lupus can never cage you indoors. Just be a little SUN-SMART and you are ready to for summer. Lupus is just a condition and that too you can control.


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