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Hi, my friend gets this strange rash on her face when she is exposed to sun light. She has lupus and she says that the sensitivity to sun is caused by her condition. She has explained the effects of lupus, but she doesn't know how the rash and the lupus are connected. Could you explain the connection between the lupus and the face rash?

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Hi, systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost every organ. This means that the skin can be affected by it too. The skin manifestation of systemic lupus is a rash called butterfly rash. The rash spreads over the nose and the cheeks resembling a butterfly. When a person with lupus goes out, the ultraviolet sun light cause the production of a certain proteins in the skin cells. These protein molecules are antigens that induce the immune system reaction. Antibodies bond with antigens and the lymphocytes attack these complexes. The reaction induces inflammation that can be seen as a skin rash. There is also a skin rash caused by discoid lupus. This kind of lupus affects only the skin and causes lesions that can leave scars. The mechanism of this autoimmune reaction is the same as in systemic lupus. That is why people with lupus have to protect themselves against the sunlight. Your friend should wear a high sun protection factor sunscreen and avoid the sun exposure between ten am and four pm. This way the chances of developing a butterfly rash will be minimal.
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