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The Best Soap for Lupus Patients

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the skin, causing sensitivity and increased vulnerability to irritants. Finding the right soap that cleanses without causing further skin problems is essential for individuals with lupus. This article will explore the best soap options for lupus patients, considering their unique needs and sensitivities.

Donald Thomas, MD author of The Lupus Encyclopedia for Gastrointestinal symptoms in lupus blog post

This blog on “The Best Soap for Lupus Patients” was edited and contributed to by Donald Thomas, MD; author of “The Lupus Encyclopedia.” Parts of this blog post come from “The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Health Care Providers, edition 2

Understanding the Needs of Lupus Patients’ Skin

Lupus can cause a variety of skin manifestations, including rashes, dry skin, and sun sensitivity. The skin of lupus patients may be prone to dryness, redness, and irritation. Therefore, selecting a gentle and nourishing soap is crucial to maintain skin health and minimize potential flare-ups or discomfort.

Choosing the Best Soap for Lupus Patients

Look for Fragrance-Free Soaps

Fragrances can be harsh on sensitive skin and may trigger allergic reactions or irritate lupus-related rashes. Opt for fragrance-free soaps to minimize the risk of skin irritation.

Consider Mild and Moisturizing Formulas

Lupus patients often experience dry skin, so using a soap with moisturizing properties can be beneficial. Look for soaps that contain ingredients like glycerin, shea butter, or natural oils to help retain moisture and prevent further drying.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Irritants

Certain chemicals and ingredients commonly found in soaps, such as sulfates and alcohol, can strip the skin’s natural oils and exacerbate dryness and irritation. Choose soap options that are free from these harsh chemicals to ensure gentle cleansing.

Check for Hypoallergenic and Dermatologist-Tested Labels

Soaps labeled as hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested are specifically formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions and skin irritation. These options can be a safe choice for lupus patients with sensitive skin.

Top Soap Recommendations for Lupus Patients

  1. CeraVe Cream: Dr. Thomas’ favorite “soap” to recommend is CeraVe. This comes after a dry skin expert dermatologist friend recommended this approach since so many lupus patients have dry, itchy skin, often due to having Sjogren’s disease overlap syndrome. Use it on your face, arms, legs, chest, shoulders, and abdomen instead of regular soap. Although it is a moisturizer, pretend it is a soap. It works just as well in most people and greatly increases moisture retention. If you do get dirty (such as from gardening, working on a car, etc), then use the soap in #2 below on the dirty areas, followed by CeraVe.
  2. Eucerin® Skin Calming Dry Skin Body Wash: For your underarms, private areas, and feet, use this oil-based soap. Also, if you do actually get dirty on your hands, legs etc, use this followed by CeraVe above. However, try to use CeraVe alone as much as you can. All soaps (including this brand) can remove vital moisturizing oils from the skin.

Also, do everything listed in Dr. Thomas’ dry skin care blog post for additional help.

Avoid most other soaps that advertise themselves as being good for dry skin. Most of these are not good enough for many lupus and Sjogren’s disease patients. If the above two recommended “soaps” do not help (you would be in the minority in that case), then consult with a dermatologist.

Please note: we are not associated with the above brands in any way. Other products are available.

Maintaining Healthy Skin Habits

In addition to choosing the right soap, adopting a few healthy skin habits can further support lupus patients’ skin health:

  1. Moisturize Regularly: Apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer after bathing to lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated.
  2. Protect from the Sun: Sun exposure can trigger lupus flares and worsen skin symptoms. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF before going outdoors, and wear protective clothing and accessories. Read and follow all the Lupus Secrets.
  3. Avoid Hot Water: Hot water can strip the skin of natural oils and exacerbate dryness. Opt for lukewarm water when bathing or washing your hands. Most of us LOVE our hot showers, so this step can be hard. A good way to do this is to dial back the temperature a tiny bit each day. Slowly get your body used to cooler showers and baths. Cooler temperatures will help keep essential moisturizing oils in your skin.
  4. Pat Dry, Don’t Rub: After washing, gently pat the skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing vigorously. This helps prevent further irritation and dryness.

Choosing the Best Soap

Choosing the best soap for lupus patients is essential for maintaining healthy and comfortable skin. Fragrance-free, mild, and moisturizing soaps are key considerations. Options such as Eucerin® Skin Calming Dry Skin Body Wash and CeraVE are recommended choices (as explained above). Additionally, practicing good skin habits like regular moisturizing, sun protection, avoiding hot water, and gentle drying techniques can further support skin health for lupus patients.

Remember, every individual’s skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare provider specializing in lupus to determine the best soap options for your specific needs. By prioritizing gentle care and making informed choices, you can help manage lupus-related skin sensitivities and maintain healthier, more comfortable skin.

For more in-depth information on how lupus affects the skin in greater detail:

Read chapters 8 and 14 of The Lupus Encyclopedia, edition 2

Look up your symptoms, conditions, and medications in the Index of The Lupus Encyclopedia.

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What are your comments and opinions?

If you have skin problems and lupus, what has your experience been? What do you recommend for other patients?

Do you have any questions to ask Dr. Thomas?

Please click on “Leave a Comment” above to comment.

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Reviewed and edited by Donald Thomas, MD

7 Comments

  1. Please let me know-how the soap fragance free, let me the soso name

    • Patricia: The Eucerin oil-based skin calming body wash is fragrance free.

      Donald Thomas, MD

  2. Dr Thomas- I have CL only on the neck, there are times when it becomes very sensitive, hurts, burns almost all the time. Should I be careful using body soap and shampoo?
    Thanks so much!

    • Marcella: So sorry to hear this.

      It certainly wouldn’t hurt to go by the recommendations to see if they help reduce the symptoms (cool shower, no soap or use CeraVie cream as soap). However, when there is burning pain, that usually means we need to control the inflammation better with treatments (Saphnelo usually works wonders when it occurs in the setting of SLE) or nerve pain (where nerve pain meds like gabapentin may help).

      Dr T

  3. Merhaba lupus sle hastasıyım organ tutulumum ve cilt tutulumum yok benim eklem ağrıları var. Plaquenil cellcept akıllı ilaç yani mabthera kullanıyorum birde Deltacortil. Tweeter da yazdım anti ds dna 800 çıkıyor nac buna iyi gelirmi. Türkiye de ne diyip alacağım teşekkür ederim

    I’ll translate here from Turkish using Google Translate: Hello, I am a lupus sle patient, I do not have organ involvement or skin involvement, I have joint pain. I use Plaquenil cellcept smart drug, Mabthera, and Deltacortil. I also wrote on Twitter that anti ds dna 800 comes out, is nac good for this? I will buy it in Turkey, thank you.

    • Nilay: We truly do not know. We only have a few studies suggesting that NAC may be effective and safe in SLE. Ask your doctor if it would be safe for you to try first… Dr T

  4. I have lupus and my skin gets very itchy, dry rashes on the nose, ears scalp and I don’t know what to use I use aveeno


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