Little Changes, Big Impact on Lupus Health
A few years ago, I decided to start highlighting the small, baby steps I take to live well with lupus. I wanted to remind myself that, while managing a chronic illness often requires monumental, life-altering steps, it's the little changes to daily life that often have the biggest impact. The minor accommodations to my lifestyle gave me momentum, encouraged me to make more good decisions, and set me in the right direction for long lasting success.
I was reminded of this fact a few weeks back, after I solved a months-long, non-lupus related issue with one quick, easy change.
Here's how it unfolded:
Over the winter, I noticed increased redness on my nose and cheeks. While it definitely wasn't a malar rash (the typical lupus rash that gives the disease its name), it was certainly something that gave me pause.
My first thought was dryness, so I increased my moisturizer.
Second thought was sun exposure, because I had inadvertently bought an SPF 15 daily moisturizer instead of my typical SPF 30. So I changed that.
Then I thought it was a slight allergy to food - wine, chocolate, citrus, or dairy, maybe. I even thought it could be nightshade vegetables, which can be problematic for lupus - but after running quick experiments, none of the above seemed to check out.
So then I wandered back to the lupus rash idea. Maybe it WAS caused by lupus, even though any lupus skin rash I'd ever had didn't act like this. This redness just looked like irritation - and now I was getting irritated, having exhausted so many possibilities!
I was even applying a light powder, sometimes even a dab of concealer first thing in the mornings to soften the redness, something I have never had to do.
And then, it came to me! I was in the shower, using my all-time favorite exfoliator, which I'd upped to using daily last fall because it felt so good on my skin. As I was applying, I thought, "Boy, do I love the way this makes my skin feel. So smooth, almost like it takes off a full layer of dead skin." 😳
Yes - it felt like that because that's exactly what was happening - taking off a layer of skin, leaving me with raw, exposed, red sensitive skin!
I immediately abandoned my scrub, though I do use it occasionally (max of once a week) when I can tell that I need a bit of exfoliation. My redness subsided, and my skin repaired. The morning powder fell to the wayside, as did my food allergy worries and other concerns.
So there you have it. Reminds me of when I would try all kinds of complicated solutions to a nagging lupus problem, when, sometimes, the solution was often a minor change to my lifestyle that had major results.
Here's a link to what I call my Healthy Deeds of the Day, those small, baby steps I've found myself taking that have had a great impact on my emotional and physical lupus well-being. Some seem easy, others not so much. But with one good decision, another usually follows. Hope you are inspired to act on your first Healthy Deed!