Butterfly Rash – The Diseases Behind Butterfly Like Rash

What does the butterfly rash on your face say about your health? The flat and red rash that develops on the bridge of the nose and extends to the cheeks might be the symptom of a serious health disorder such as lupus. Occasionally the butterfly-shaped facial rash might be the symptom of rosacea. Rarely, butterfly rash is a sign of contact dermatitis.

Butterfly rash – causes

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Approximately 46 to 65 percent people with butterfly rash are patients of systemic lupus erythematosus or lupus. This autoimmune disease causes inflammation of tissues and organs of the body. Abnormal immune response is responsible for this health disorder. The antibodies, produced by the immune system of a person affected by lupus, consider the tissues and various organs of the body as harmful foreign substances. Joints, skin, heart, kidneys and lungs are the common organs attacked by the antibodies of the body.

Common symptoms of lupus include mild fever, loss of appetite, arthritis, body pain, oral ulcers, inflammation of the lungs and heart, poor blood circulation, especially in the toes and fingers and butterfly rash. Discoid lupus is a sub group of this autoimmune disease, affecting only the facial skin and scalp.

Butterfly rash in lupus are painless. They do not itch. Although butterfly rash does not occur in all lupus sufferers, it is present in more than half of lupus patients. Exposure to sunlight or bright light worsens the rash. Usually butterfly rash cures without producing any permanent damage to the skin. To prevent flare-ups, people with lupus butterfly rash should avoid exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun. Applying sunscreen on the face and taking medications as directed by physician could help to prevent butterfly rash.


Although butterfly shaped rash is largely associated with lupus, if the rash occurs without other symptoms of lupus such as joint ache, it could be a sign of rosacea. This chronic skin disorder can occur allover the face. Largely the central area of the face, including the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin, is affected by this disease.

Contact dermatitis

Rash developing from contact dermatitis might develop a butterfly shape. This allergic reaction develops when the skin is exposed to allergens.