Malar rash, also known as butterfly rash, is described as a skin irritation which extends across the face in a butterfly appearance. The main and most obvious feature of the malar rash is that it will cover both cheeks and will be connected in the middle across the bridge of the nose.
The rash is typically transient (this means that it flares up and then goes into periods of remission), lasting from days to several weeks, linked with occasional symptoms of pruritus (an unpleasant sensation which provokes the desire to scratch) and pain.
Butterfly rash is the characteristic skin lesion of systemic lupus erythematosus and may occur after exposure to the sun or spontaneously. An estimated fifty percent of all lupus suferrers experience this rash.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes swelling and a wide variety of symptoms. Over 1.6 million people in the US and approximately 5 million people worldwide have the disease.
- nose or mouth ulcers;
- extreme fatigue (tiredness);
- fingers turning white and/or blue when cold;
- abnormal blood clotting;
- painful or swollen joints;
- hair loss;
- sun- or light-sensitivity;
- pain in the chest on deep breathing;
- swelling in feet, hands, legs, and/or around eyes;
- anemia (low numbers of hemoglobin or red blood cells).
The butterfly rash is usually caused by lupus.
Along with inflammation in other organs, the malar rash can be worsened or precipitated by exposure to sunlight.
Make sure to use a sun cream that can protect you from ultraviolet rays whenever you go out. Furthermore, find other ways to cover your skin, including – using sunglasses and scarves since one of the symptoms of lupus is photosensitivity and this extends to the butterfly rash – the longer you expose yourself to sunlight, the bigger the chance for the malar rash to emerge.
It is a chronic disease which is characterized by cyclical flare-ups of pimples and redness around the face. It can also occur in other areas, like – your chest, neck, and ears.
Individuals from 30 to 60 years old are most frequently affected. Also, females are more often affected than males. In addition, it is more common in people with fair skin mostly of eastern European descent (usually English, Celtic, and Scottish).
Common symptoms include the following:
- the sensitivity of the skin around the eyes, including redness, bloodshot or watery appearance, dryness, itching, stinging, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, pain, and cysts;
- redness in the face, particularly toward the center in the nose and cheeks;
- parts of the skin which thicken, particularly common around the nose;
- spider veins, that are clusters of tiny blood vessels which occur close to the surface of the skin;
- bumpy texture to the skin;
- painful and swelling skin;
- raised patches of skin;
- visible and inflamed pores;
- overly oily skin;
- acne-like breakouts;
- easily blushing when embarrassed;
- rough, dry, itchy or scaling skin;
- burning and stinging in the skin;
- sensitive skin that easily reacts to the skincare products, sun, sweating, or feeling hot.
Note – worsening of rosacea may be prevented by avoiding alcoholic beverages, certain foods, hot beverages, as well as extremes of temperature, exposure to sunlight, and the use of cosmetics.
Some of the complications include:
- conjunctivitis – it is inflammation of the conjunctiva;
- lymphoedema – a condition which causes swelling in the body’s tissues;
- rhinophyma – it is a skin disorder that causes the nose to become bulbous and enlarged. Males are prone to this complication.
While there is no definitive cause for this skin condition, most doctors consider that it is a result of environmental and genetic factors, including:
- skin mite;
- gastrointestinal ulcers;
- a family history of rosacea;
- unbalanced immune system;
- chronic sun exposure, that can damage the skin and blood vessels;
- being fair-skinned.
Anyone can develop the condition, however, you may be more prone to it if you:
- have a history of acne, particularly with cysts;
- have fair or sensitive skin;
- are over age 30;
- are female.
In order to determine whether you have rosacea, your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine your skin.
While there is not a cure for this chronic skin condition, there are a few treatment options to reduce and control your symptoms, such as:
- to treat the enlarged capillaries – laser surgery;
- avoidance of known triggers, like – alcohol, sunlight, and spicy foods;
- to treat rhinophyma – surgery;
- diathermy – it is a therapeutic treatment during which a device which generates heat is applied to the damaged blood vessels;
- gel and creams which contain antibiotics, like – metronidazole;
- antibiotics – like – minocycline or doxycycline.
Note – this skin condition is chronic, hence, treatment is usually required for long-term use.
Bottom Line – Malar Rash vs Rosacea
Malar rash, also known as the butterfly rash, is an acute manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus, that is present in around 50 percent of patients. This rash is so-named because it resembles a butterfly, covering both cheeks and the bridge of the nose and spanning the width of the face.
Additionally, a butterfly rash can occur in other conditions, like – seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea. However, the malar rash can be distinguished from other rashes because it spares the nasal folds and appears elevated, red, and occasionally scaly.
Rosacea is a skin condition that is characterized by the appearance of inflammation or redness, acne-like pimples and broken blood vessels on the central face including the chin, cheeks, forehead, and nose. It is a common skin condition that affects between 0.5 to 10% of the population.
Managing triggers and other risk factors are essential to successfully living with this chronic skin condition. Some of these triggers include:
- extremes in weather environments and conditions which raise your body temperature;
- products with alcohols, fragrances, abrasives, or other irritants that can aggravate the symptoms;
- emotional swings;
- UV exposure;
- certain medications;
- over-heating the body through physical exercise;
- the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy or hot foods.