Sjogren's Syndrome and Skin Problems
About half of the people with the condition have both Sjogren's syndrome and skin problems. While some experience only dry skin and itching, others can develop cracked, split skin that can easily become infected. If you have Sjogren's syndrome and skin problems, treatment suggestions include using creams and ointments instead of lotions and avoiding sun exposure for long periods of time.
About half of the people who have Sjogren's have dry skin. Some experience only itching, but it can be severe. Others develop cracked, split skin that can easily become infected. Infection is a risk for people with itchy skin, too, particularly if they scratch vigorously. The skin may darken in infected areas, but it returns to normal when the infection clears up and the scratching stops.
To treat dry skin, apply heavy moisturizing creams and ointments three or four times a day to trap moisture in the skin. Lotions, which are lighter than creams and ointments, aren't recommended, because they evaporate quickly and can contribute to dry skin.
Also, doctors suggest that you take only a short shower (less than 5 minutes), use a moisturizing soap, pat your skin almost dry, and then cover it with a cream or ointment. If you take baths, it's a good idea to soak for 10 to 15 minutes to give your skin time to absorb moisture. Having a humidifier in the bedroom can help hydrate your skin, too. If these steps don't help the itching, your doctor might recommend that you use a skin cream or ointment containing steroids.
Some patients who have Sjogren's syndrome, particularly those who have lupus, are sensitive to sunlight, and can get painful burns from even a little sun exposure, such as through a window. So, if you're sensitive to sunlight, you need to wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) whenever you go outdoors, and try to avoid being in the sun for long periods of time.