The Sun aka Lupus Enemy #1

Lupus Enemy #1

By: Kimberly W. Floria

It’s that time of year when the Ultra Violet Rays are getting stronger, which means those of us with lupus must be that much more vigilant. Sunscreen is a must all year-long but more so in the summer when the UVB rays are stronger. I use it all year-long on exposed skin; it’s no different from using lotion.

UVC rays are the shortest distance from the sun. It is absorbed by the ozone layer above the earth. Brief exposure can cause light sunburn. Prolong exposure would be fatal. At this time we don’t have to be concern with UVC unless you plan to travel outside the ozone layer, like space travel or something.

UVB rays penetrate the top layer of the body called the epidermis. UVB is strongest in the northern hemisphere in the summer months or when parts of the earth’s orbit are closest to the sun. However the rays of the UVB can reflect off water and snow all year-long. UVB are responsible for most cancers. These rays are strongest during the hours of 10am and 4pm; use extra caution during that time.

UVA rays do more damage than UVB rays. UVA is the same strength all year round. It doesn’t matter how close or far the sun is from the earth. The UVA rays shoot through the epidermis to the second layer of your skin called the Dermis. UVA rays are used in tanning salons and were once thought to be harmless. Not so. UVA are extremely harmful to our skin. Its rays penetrate through glass.

I tried to find out what UVC, UVB and UVA stood for UV is ultra violet of course but the best I could come up with for the c was electromagnetic radiation sub C, way beyond my level of understanding. The “B” much easier stands for burning and the “A” aging. I found this through Google a HS student summed it up this way. It works for me.

We with lupus know firsthand the effects of the sun. Our skin breaks out in rashes, we get extremely fatigue, swollen, the aches and pains are just as bad in the heated weather. There are clothes with UV protection, easy enough to find through, that’s right Google. I hate hats and I’m just getting use to sunglasses, yet they are essential in protecting our scalps and eyes from UV attacks on our lupus bodies.

Of course sunscreen/sun block is extremely a must! What’s the difference between sunscreen and sun block? Sun block deflects UV rays and sunscreen absorbs them. However the FDA plans to ban the term sun block because NOTHING can block UV rays. All sunscreens protect against UVB but not all protect against UVA.

Helioplex is a proprietary name by Neutrogena for protecting the skin from UVA and UVB rays. It contains Avobenzone and Oxybenzone. Avobenzone decreases it efficiency after a few hour of sun exposure but with the addition of Oxybenzone it reduces the amount of degradation.

Avobenzone – Oil soluble ingredient to absorb the full spectrum of UVA rays.

Oxybenzone – An organic compound that absorbs UVB and UVA rays.

Bemotrizinol (Methoxyphenyl) – absorbs UVB and UVA rays. It helps prevent photo degradation. It is the most effective UV absorber available measured by SPF. However it’s not approved by the FDA in the USA.

SPF – Sun Protection Factor. The higher the SPF the more protection you have. We with lupus should use at least 30spf. Me I use 70 to 100 SPF and I just brought Neutrogena Age Shield face with a SPF of 110. Remember to use sunscreen whenever you are exposed to the sun. Even if you are sitting at your kitchen table and the sun come through the window, even if you are getting in the car. Remember the UVA penetrates through glass. You should reapply sunscreen several time during the day. To know how long you multiply the SPF by the number 10 and that will be the length of time the sunscreen is good providing you’re not swimming or perspiring. So if you use a sunscreen of 30 SPF X 10 = 300 minutes=5hours, before reapplying. That’s 5 hours.

I goggled all this information so you can validate it yourself or talk to your doctor about it. I don’t work for Neutrogena but I do use their “sun block”. The Age Shield Face gives my face a nice glow.

So my lupus sisters and brothers enjoy the coming summer and remember to protect your body and skin.

To read more about me and my life before lupus go to

Copyright Kimberly Floria 3/16/2011


22 thoughts on “The Sun aka Lupus Enemy #1

    1. I’m glad it helped you. I just posted a full explanation of lupus I hope it’s just as easy. My purpose is to help others recognize the symptoms they may have. Thanks for reading.

  1. I have a friend, of nearly five years, who has lupus. I only found this out a few months back. I’d always thought of her as such a gracious and gentle girl however; a little bit ‘private’. When she told me about suffering lupus she spoke so as no-one else could hear; she didn’t want anyone to think that she was any less than she is. She has been a dancer most of her life; such a strong minded girl. After reading your post Kim (which is wonderfully informative) I now understand so much better the plight of those affected, and just a little saddened by this. I’ve always been inspired by this girl and today even more so… Take good care of you….

    1. So many people don’t understand lupus. It’s a disease that can debilitate a person. It affects one or more major organ. Most commonly the skin. For me it was the skin for years undiagnosed. It wasn’t until it affected my lungs did I get diagnosed. I was always tired, it got worst when I became sick. I was treated with steroids that in my opinion and that of most of us with lupus is worst then the disease. I was on steroids for almost 3 years before I started going into remission or my lupus is under control. But lupus is a funny illness I can feel well today and tomorrow I can be laid up in bed all day tire and in pain. I try to ignore those bad days but it catches up to us. Your friend sounds like my mother who also had lupus. She never expressed what she was going through and I didn’t know what to ask her. When I was diagnosed and started reading all I could to learn about this illness I understood what my mother was suffering. I was going to start another blog I have one lupus verse me and the new one was going to be titled me verse lupus round 2 but one blog at a time is enough for me. 😀 But I’m going to post some info on lupus so that maybe I can spread some more awareness. Thank you for reading.

      1. I’ve just read and left a message on your next post re Lupus… Very informative Kim.
        Yes, it does sound like my friend is very similar to your mother; she prefers (obviously) to ‘play it down’ however; now that I am more aware of the condition I’m sure that I’ll be able to be more sympatico to her needs… Thanks for that Kim… All the best to you… xoxoxo

  2. This is one of the beautiful posts coming from you Kim assuring how beautiful and big heart you have got that you even share every bit of what you possess with the world. You never know who needed this and got it JUST BECAUSE OF YOU!
    Take good acre of yourself and stay blessed! Don’t miss that smile anywhere, I love that when it is glowing on your face.

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