My Lupus Skin Care Routine
Heather Glantz has good days and bad days with lupus. She takes things one day at a time.
Like many people who suffer from lupus, I wake up some mornings during a flare and dread looking in the mirror. I know that looking back at me isn't just Heather, it's also Heather with a red butterfly on her face. A malar rash, often called a butterfly rash, is a skin irritation that spreads across my face in the shape of a butterfly. The "wings" cover my cheeks, and the "body" covers my nose. It's not a condition in itself, but rather a symptom of lupus. After years of trial and error and research, I've figured out some tricks to get that butterfly to fly away.
First of all, I make sure I exfoliate my face once a week. I've found that foundation looks flaky if I don't exfoliate because it sits on top of dead, dry skin. Also, I always (always always!) apply moisturizer with built-in SPF before putting foundation on. I don't want dry skin, and with lupus, I need to protect my skin from the sun, so a moisturizer with SPF is perfect. Moisturizer also allows foundation to go on smoother, so it looks less cakey. I also apply my foundation with a sponge on my cheeks and around my nose to cover up the butterfly – it goes on more smoothly than if I'd applied with my fingers. I don't always put it all over my face if I don't need it, because, of course, less foundation looks more natural.
" I also apply my foundation with a sponge on my cheeks and around my nose to cover up the butterfly – it goes on more smoothly than if I’d applied with my fingers."
Heather Glantz, on dealing with the lupus butterfly rash
As far as choosing a foundation, I've tried many. I make sure that I'm using a product line that contains healthy and non-irritating ingredients, so that I'm not making the rash worse. With lupus comes sensitive skin, so look for a product that is natural and hypoallergenic so your skin won't get worse. I find that I can avoid the butterfly rash by avoiding as much direct sunlight as possible, resting regularly, and eating well. Sometimes, though, it appears no matter what I do, so I grab my foundation, sit in bed, and apply it until the butterfly has gone back into its cocoon.
One Day at a Time With Lupus
Heather Glantz has been living with lupus for more than 20 years. She lives outside of Atlanta with her husband, Julian.