A red or purple rash on the nose and cheeks is a common symptom of lupus called a malar rash.
Visit the LupusCorner poll about the prevalence of the butterfly rash among people with lupus!
The name, malar rash, comes from the Latin word ‘mala’ meaning jaw, or cheek-bone. However, it it is known colloquially as a butterfly rash because it resembles the shape of a butterfly on the face. Notably the rash typically does not appear on the nasolabial folds (smile/laugh lines on the side of the nose that run to the corner of the mouth). Rashes can be mild or severe, but they are usually not painful. Some people report severe rashes as being itchy or “hot.”
Do all people with lupus get butterfly rashes?
No. Depending on the study you look at, the rash is only present in 31-65% of people with lupus. LupusCorner conducted a poll of the visitors to the site, and found that 54.3% of people with lupus had the butterfly rash at some point. The poll received 969 responses.
The butterfly rash is also NOT pathognomonic to lupus. That means that the rash is not specific to lupus; it is also seen in Bloom syndrome, dermatomyositis, pellagra, and other diseases.