A lupus rash can appear in different forms and locations. In some cases, it can look like a hickey. However, it is important to note that other conditions can cause rashes resembling hickeys.

Lupus rashes can vary, depending on the type of lupus a person has. For example, subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus typically causes a rash on sun-exposed areas such as the neck, chest, back, and arms.

However, other conditions, such as contact dermatitis, ringworm, drug reactions, and bruises, can also cause a rash that resembles a hickey. Therefore, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

This article explores lupus rashes and other potential causes of skin rashes that look like hickeys.

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A lupus rash can appear in different forms and locations, depending on the type of lupus a person has.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common form of lupus and is usually the type people refer to as “lupus.” SLE may affect multiple body systems, while other types affect only the skin.

When lupus affects only the skin, doctors call it cutaneous lupus, and there are three primary types:

  • Chronic cutaneous lupus: Also called discoid lupus, this causes round, disc-shaped sores on the head, face, and neck. The rash can cause significant sunken scarring, and the skin becomes discolored in these areas.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus: These lesions appear as a scaly red or purple rash with ring-shaped sores. They often appear on sun-exposed areas of the body, such as the arms and neck. Although people may be self-conscious about the rash, it typically does not itch or scar.
  • Acute cutaneous lupus: These lesions appear in people with systemic lupus when they experience a flare-up. It usually causes a butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose. Doctors call it a malar rash, meaning flattened areas of red skin that resemble sunburn.

Lupus rashes can vary considerably in appearance, which is why sometimes they may resemble hickeys if they appear on the neck. However, the rash often affects areas besides the neck, such as the face, scalp, or arms.

A lupus rash may resemble a hickey in some cases, as they can share similarities in appearance. For example, both can appear as red or purple marks on the skin.

However, there are some key differences to look out for:

  • Location: Hickeys can appear on the neck, while a lupus rash can appear anywhere on the body but often shows up on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, and arms.
  • Color: Hickeys occur due to injury, so they are red- or purple-colored and gradually fade to yellow or green as they heal. A lupus rash can be red, pink, or even brownish, depending on a person’s skin tone.
  • Texture: Hickeys are usually smooth but may appear raised initially. They may also feel tender to the touch. A lupus rash can appear scaly but is typically not painful.
  • Duration: Hickeys usually last a few days to a week, while a lupus rash can persist for weeks or months.
  • Symptoms: A person with a lupus rash may have other symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, and fever. Hickeys have no associated symptoms.

If a person is unsure if they have a hickey or a lupus rash, they may want to consult a healthcare professional.

While a lupus rash can sometimes resemble a hickey, several other skin conditions can cause similar-looking marks. These can include:

  • Fungal Infections: Ringworm can cause circular, red rashes that may resemble hickeys. These rashes can be itchy and may have a raised, scaly border. Athletes’ foot and jock itch are other types of fungal infections that can cause similar-looking rashes.
  • Bug bites: Mosquito bites, spider bites, and tick bites can all cause red marks on the skin. These bites can be itchy and may have a raised, swollen appearance. Bed bug bites can also cause similar-looking marks.
  • Other skin conditions: Eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis can cause hickey-like marks. These conditions can cause red, scaly rashes that may be itchy or painful. Bruises and petechiae, which are small, pinpoint red or purple marks, can also resemble hickeys.

Learn more about differentiating types of rashes.

If someone develops a skin rash that resembles a hickey, it is advisable for them to get medical attention from their primary care doctor or a dermatologist. This is particularly important if the individual has accompanying lupus symptoms, such as joint pain, fatigue, or fever.

Contacting a doctor if the person has a confirmed lupus diagnosis and experiences new or worsening symptoms is also important. Symptoms to look out for can include a new type of rash, increased joint pain or swelling, or other indications of disease activity.

It is important to have regular checkups with a healthcare professional who is familiar with lupus, can monitor the individual’s symptoms, and will adjust their treatment plan as needed.

People may be self-conscious about a rash that looks like a hickey, but it is important to monitor it, as it could indicate an underlying condition, such as lupus.

There are different types of lupus rashes, and some can look like hickeys. For example, a subacute cutaneous lupus rash usually appears on sun-exposed areas, such as the neck, chest, back, and arms, and can resemble a hickey.

If someone suspects they have a lupus rash or other symptoms, it is a good idea for them to contact a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.