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I am a licensed clinical psychologist and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) warrior. I have a unique perspective on the connections between mind, spirit, and skin. Lovely with Lupus is the place where I share my thoughts and experiences.
My ups and downs with lupus have shown me both the fragility of our human bodies as well as our deep capacity for resilience, and I live every day with this knowledge. It took serious illness to make me realize just how precious health is–and the extent to which everyday choices matter. With an illness as serious as lupus, the issue of skin care might seem like a superficial concern, but there is plenty of research demonstrating that it impacts quality of life. As someone who struggles with photosensitivity and inflammaging, I had trouble finding answers to my dermatological questions and dilemmas, and that is ultimately what inspired me to start writing.
I have always loved skincare and have been a sunscreen worshipper ever since I was old enough to apply it. My interest in taming inflammaging was sparked by seeing how rapidly and dramatically lupus—with its chronic inflammation–aged me, despite years of taking good care of my skin. I am living proof that inflammaging is not just an abstract theory. I have a passion for testing and writing about anti-aging skincare, particularly skincare with the potential to tackle what I have termed skinflammaging (a combination of the terms skinflammation and inflammaging). I am trying to move towards exclusively cruelty-free options, and I gravitate towards a mix of green and traditional beauty. Ultimately, I evaluate products based on their ingredients and formulations. I am impressed when I encounter proven actives balanced with anti-inflammatories, and I try to steer clear of products with irritants or potentially harmful ingredients.
I believe that those of us blessed with sensitive skin hold skincare formulations to a high bar and reveal their truths because our reactive skin is highly discerning. In the words of May Lindstrom, “My skin was a battleground from birth.” I can immediately feel when a product is formulated to work with skin rather than against it; my skin demands support rather than force. I share my experiences in the hopes of giving others some starting points, celebrating excellence when I find it, and beginning a conversation to benefit one another.
Last but not least, my conception of beauty is informed by motherhood. I am the devoted mama of three spirited young daughters (all ages 3 & under). As the mother of three daughters, I want to set an example of self-acceptance in the face of imperfection. Although I do experience bouts of dissatisfaction related to signs of aging, I aspire to embrace the changes I see. I am informed by Kari Gran’s Wear Yourself In philosophy as well as the beautiful concept of wabi-sabi, the beauty of imperfection. Let us focus on the radiance that comes from being kind to ourselves and our skin as we explore the best in beauty together. Lovely with Lupus is a place to remember and celebrate our individual beauty.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic and sometimes disabling autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body, frequently attacking the skin, kidneys, joints, and/or nervous system. For many, SLE can be an extremely difficult, even disabling condition, and as many as 1.5 million Americans have it. Please follow these respective links a full overview of the many, variable symptoms that may indicate lupus or that a lupus sufferer may experience during a flare. Lupus has been called “the disease of a thousand faces” for good reason. Skin involvement is just one of many lupus-related challenges, and yet the issue is not just superficial–it can have a big impact on quality of life and daily functioning. My own skin challenges (e.g., photosensitivity, sun-sensitive rash, accelerated photodamage/skin aging) are big parts of what inspired me to start this blog. For a quick overview of skin involvement in lupus, please see this page.
For an incredible array of lupus-related resources all gathered in one place, I invite you to check out the Lupus Foundation of America’s newly-launched National Resource Center on Lupus.
I have been fortunate to be granted PR samples from truly remarkable lines. This is a privilege I do not take for granted. As my way of giving back, I make a donation to the Lupus Research Alliance out of my own pocket each time I am granted a feature/review opportunity. You can see an overview of their funded research here.