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Part II Health-challenged Skin--Celiac Disease and SLE

By: Morag Currin
Posted: February 28, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 5 of 9

Drug-induced skin changes. Some drugs prescribed for lupus conditions, such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressives and antineoplastics, can also affect the skin, so consulting with the client about any side effects is absolutely necessary. Sunscreen is necessary to avoid further aggravation.

Mucous membrane lesions. Mouth ulcers are sometimes seen in SLE clients, and nose and vaginal ulcers may also occur. These lesions are usually painless. It is important to differentiate lupus ulcers from herpes lesions or cold sores, which may be brought on by the use of immunosuppressive drugs.

Subacute cutaneous lesions. These nonscarring, red, coin-shaped lesions are very sensitive to UV light; can appear scaly and can mimic the lesions seen in psoriasis; and may occur only on the face or cover large areas of the body. Sunscreen is necessary to avoid further aggravation.

Raynaud’s phenomenon. This condition occurs when the blood vessels of the fingers and toes react in an extreme way to cold or stress. They suddenly get very narrow, and the blood supply to these areas is diminished. As a result, the fingers and toes become cold, and can become pale or bluish. Pain or tingling can occur when the hands and feet warm up and circulation returns to normal. Ensure your client’s hands and feet are kept warm at all times, and avoid any cold treatments.

Vasculitis. This occurs when blood vessels become inflamed. Very small blood vessels can break and cause bleeding into the tissues, resulting in tiny, reddish-purple spots on the skin, known as petechiae. Larger spots are called purpura and may look like a bruise. Vasculitis can also cause blood clots to form, skin ulcers to develop, and small black areas to appear around fingers and toenails. If you see this condition on clients, recommend that they see their physician right away.

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