If you suffer from subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), you know that even small amounts of sun exposure can cause your skin to erupt in lesions and aggravate your autoimmune disorder in general. That can make the long, bright days of summer angst-ridden while you try to avoid the sun and keep your symptoms under control. Here are some things that you can do.
1.) Remember the basics of skin protection.
Avoid direct sunlight exposure outside as much as possible, naturally. When that's not possible, try to plan activities for early in the morning or late in the day, when the sunlight is weaker. Make sure that you take the normal precautions, including using a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day that will give you protection against both UVA and UVB rays. At least one expert recommends looking for products with Mexoryl SX as an active ingredient for its UVA protection. In addition, keep in mind that you want to use long-sleeved shirts, hats, and stay in the shade as much as possible.
2.) Apply UV-protective film to the windows of your house and car.
UVB light is effectively blocked by windows but a lot of UVA radiation can pass right through. Regular window glass still lets in at least 50% of UVA light and car windows let in 60%. You can have your car windows tinted professionally, but there are also window films that you can also apply yourself. Both car windows and house windows can benefit from the use of UV-blocking film. If you don't want the windows darkened, that's no problem—there are clear films that block 99% of all UV rays.
3.) Add blackout draperies to windows where you regularly stand or sit.
Blackout draperies make an effective, low-tech solution to the problem of indoor sunlight exposure, especially if you add them to windows that are next to your favorite spots in the house for sitting or working. The drapes are usually lined with a tightly-woven material underneath the more decorative fabrics. If you aren't adverse to the darkening effect they cause in a room, they can be hung so that they block almost all incoming light.
It's important to remember that lupus rashes are indicators that the antibodies that control your disease are more active in your body. If you do end up with some inadvertent exposure to the sunlight, get a consultation with your rheumatologist as soon as possible.