Sunburn

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≡ Sunburn

The best way to care for Sunburned Skin

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Table of Contents

Sunburn is red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch. It usually appears within a few hours after too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from sunshine or artificial sources, such as sunlamps. Home remedies can usually provide sunburn relief, but sunburn may take days to fade.

 

Intense, repeated UV light exposure that results in sunburn increases the risk of other skin damage, such as dark spots, rough spots, and dry or wrinkled skin. It also raises the risk of skin cancers such as melanoma.

 

You can prevent sunburn and related conditions by protecting your skin. This is especially important when you’re outdoors, even on cool or cloudy days.

 

Sunburn signs and symptoms can include:

 
  • Changes in skin tone, such as pinkness or redness
  • Skin that feels warm or hot to the touch
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Small fluid-filled blisters, which may break
  • Headache, fever, nausea and fatigue, if the sunburn is severe
  • Eyes that feel painful or gritty
  • Any exposed part of your body — including your earlobes, scalp and lips — can burn. Even covered areas can burn if, for example, your clothing has a loose weave that allows ultraviolet (UV) light through. Your eyes, which are extremely sensitive to the sun’s UV light, also can burn.
  • Sunburn signs and symptoms usually appear within a few hours after sun exposure. But it may take a day or more to know how severe the sunburn is.

    Within a few days, your body may start to heal itself by peeling the damaged skin’s top layer. After peeling, your skin may temporarily have an irregular color and pattern. A bad sunburn may take several days to heal.

    Risk factors for sunburn include:

    • Having light skin, blue eyes, and red or blond hair
    • Living or vacationing somewhere sunny, warm or at high altitude
    • Working outdoors
    • Swimming or spraying your skin with water, as wet skin tends to burn more than does dry skin
    • Mixing outdoor recreation and drinking alcohol
    • Regularly exposing unprotected skin to UV light from sunlight or artificial sources, such as tanning beds
    • Taking a drug that makes you more likely to burn (photosensitizing medications)