Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Discoid lupus erythematosus is a non-cancerous chronic skin condition. It is more common in women and usually presents in young adults between ages 20 to 40. It is more common in darker-skinned patients and smokers.

It is associated with an increased risk of developing systemic lupus erythematosus, however this risk is still below 5%. Rarely the lesions can progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin.

 

Presentation

The lesions typically occur on the face, ears and scalp. They are photosensitive, meaning that they are made worse by exposure to sunlight. They are associated with scarring alopecia (hair loss in affected areas that does not grow back) and hyper-pigmented or hypo-pigmented scars.

The appearance of the lesions are:

  • Inflamed
  • Dry
  • Erythematous
  • Patchy
  • Crusty and scaling

 

Management

Skin biopsy can be used to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment is with

  • Sun protection
  • Topical steroids
  • Intralesional steroid injections
  • Hydroxychloroquine

 

Last updated April 2019
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