We’ve all been exposed to sun damage at one point or another, so knowing how to treat sunburn is a vital skill.
In short, sunburn can be treated using a variety of different methods. Cold showers and compresses are a popular way to soothe sunburns. Many people also use aloe vera and cortisone cream as a way to reduce itch and inflammation. Aspirin and ibuprofen are also effective treatments for reducing irritation and swelling. Lastly, drinking plenty of water is the best way to dimish the dehydrating effects of sunburn.
What causes sunburn?
While it might seem fun to spend the whole day outside, it’s important to be aware that we’re not causing irreversible damage to our skin. Sunburns are caused by too much exposure to sunlight, which emits harmful UV light. Any amount of sunlight that causes a tan or sunburn is enough to damage our DNA. Unfortunately, some people, like those with fair skin, are more prone to sun exposure than others.
What are the symptoms of sunburn?
There are a few symptoms that are common to most types of sunburn. Skin that has been sunburned will feel hot, get red, and feel sore. These symptoms will usually appear gradually over the course of a few hours, then worsen after about 24 hours after exposure. Skin peeling usually starts after around 3 to 8 days.
What are the dangers of sunburn?
UVA rays from the sun are invisible to the naked eye, but they can cause a lot of damage to our gene-coding cells. Too much sun exposure can lead to melanoma, one of the most common and dangerous forms of skin cancer.
In addition to this, UVA and UVB rays can also lead to wrinkles, brown spots, and other signs of premature aging.
What are the types of sunburn?
Sunburns are classified into 3 different categories: mild, moderate, and severe. They each present their own symptoms and vary vastly in treatment.
What is a first-degree sunburn?
First-degree sunburns are the most superficial type of burn. They are classified as a mild because they only affect the top layer of the skin. Luckily, these types of burns can be treated at home and usually go away on their own after a few days. Symptoms of mild sunburns include:
- dry skin
Keep in mind that that mild sunburns do not cause blisters. Sun blisters are a sign that your burn has gone deeper than a first degree burn.
What is a second-degree sunburn?
Second-degree sunburns penetrate the skin deeper than a first-degree burn. They are usually referred to as “moderate”. These types of burns have all the symptoms of a first-degree burn, with a few more unpleasant ones like:
- severe pain
- sloughing (when the top layer of the skin falls away)
Moderate burns can usually damage nerve cells and, in more severe cases, restrict blood flow.
What is sun poisoning?
Sun poisoning is another name for severe sunburn. It occurs as a result of too much sun exposure. In addition to the symptoms from above, symptoms also include:
- fever and chills
Sun poisoning is serious and can be dangerous if left untreated. Therefore, make sure to get out of the sun and drink lots of fluids if you experience any of these symptoms. For more severe cases, make sure to seek out a medical professional.
How long does sun poisoning last?
The first signs of sun poisoning manifest themselves in about 4 to 7 days after the initial exposure. After that, these symptoms can persist with more severe long-term side effects for weeks.
How long does sunburn last?
The length of time that a sunburn takes to heal varies depending on how severe it is. First-degree, or mild, sunburns have symptoms that will usually persist for about 3 days. On the other hand, second-degree, or moderate, sunburns will have symptoms that last for about 5 days. In addition, there are also usually followed by peeling skin. Lastly, severe sunburns can last for over a week and have several long-lasting side effects.
How long does sunburn hurt?
Pain from sunburn usually begins a few hours after exposure. This pain is usually worse at around 6 to 48 hours after this time. For mild and moderate sunburns, this irritation can last for a few days. For more severe sunburns, it can last for over a week.
How long does sunburn redness last?
Redness from sunburn can develop within 6 hours of sun exposure. It may last for up to 3 days, depending on the severity of the burn.
How to treat sunburn swelling
Swelling is quite unpleasant, so luckily there are a few ways to get your body back to normal:
- use cold therapy
- aloe vera
- aspirin or ibuprofen
Sunburns can cause your body to raise its internal temperature and lead to fevers. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your body stays cool. Cold showers and cold compresses are particularly good for this. A few minutes under the showerhead can reduce pain and swell in no time. In addition, cold compresses are also a good option for their portable. I’ve been using this one from Amazon, because I love that I can use it while I work.
In addition to a cold shower, aloe vera is a good natural alternative for treating sunburns.
Furthermore, if your sunburn hurts as a result of the swelling, you can take over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Of course, make sure to follow the directions on the bottles and never take more than the recommended daily amount.
What are sunburn blisters?
Sunburn blisters are small, white, fluid-filled bubbles that form on the skin. They appear when an excessive amount of UV radiation has penetrated into the skin. Blisters of this kind can take a long time to heal and can be extremely painful and itchy.
Is it bad if your sunburn blisters?
Unfortunately, sunburn blisters can increase the risk of infection if popped or picked at. Infections will usually require medical attention and will usually lead to scarring. Sunburn blisters are bad because they indicate that sunburn has reached deeper into the skin. This leads to an increased risk of skin cancer.
How long do sunburn blisters last?
Sunburn blisters will usually appear after a few hours to a day after initial sun exposure. They can be quite painful, with the pain usually subsiding after about 48 hours. Unfortunately, the blisters tend to last much longer than this and most will take at least a week to fade. Sometimes, the blisters themselves will go away, but leave irregular light or dark spots that may last up to 6 to 12 months.
How to get rid of sunburn blisters
Blisters are the body’s natural way of repairing the wound, therefore they should never be popped. A popped blister increases the risk of infection and slows down the body’s normal healing process. To heal them here’s what you should do instead:
- drink plenty of water
- apply aloe vera
- take aspirin or ibuprofen
- avoid sun exposure
Sunburns tend to dehydrate you, which can extend the time it takes for your blisters to heal. To counteract this, make sure to drink plenty of water.
Also, since moisture helps the blisters heal faster, aloe vera is another good option. If you’re looking for a quality brand, I use this one from Amazon. To apply, gently rub the aloe vera on your blisters as many times as you need.
In addition, if you find that your blisters are too painful, you can take over-the-counter pain medication, like aspirin or ibuprofen, for some relief. These medications will reduce swelling and discomfort.
Lastly, make sure to avoid sun exposure until the blisters heal, as this can make symptoms worse.
How long does it take for a sunburn to peel?
How long does sunburn peeling last? Peeling in mild to moderate sunburns start to peel in about 3 days, but can last for about a week. However, small amounts of peeling can continue for several weeks. Severe sunburns can continue to peel in larger amounts for much longer.
How to get rid of sunburn peeling
When it comes to sunburn, dry and peeling skin is a sign that the upper layer of your skin has been damaged. Unfortunately, it can be quite painful to be in this situation. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do about it:
- use an anti-inflammatory cream
- use cold therapy
- stay hydrated
Anti-inflammatory creams like aloe vera or this cortisone cream from Amazon will help soothe an itchy sunburn. Not only will these creams reduce inflammation, but they will also reduce pain and itchiness. Just make sure not to use any petroleum or oil-based creams, as they may trap heat and make your peeling even worse.
Hot water will irritate the skin, but lukewarm and cool water will soothe it. It will also loosen peeling skin and make it much easier to remove. Therefore, a daily cool shower is a great way to lessen the symptoms of peeling skin. Just be sure not to rub your skin too harshly. Instead, use a soft washcloth to gently wash the peeling skin. In addition to a cool shower, you can also use a cold compress to soothe your skin. Cold compresses are great because they are portable, so you can use them while you work.
Lastly, make sure to drink lots of water. Sunburns dehydrate your skin, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting enough fluids so that your skin can heal properly.
How to prevent sunburn peeling
The best way to prevent sunburn peeling is by keeping your skin protected with clothes or sunscreen. Clothes provide a simple, but effective barrier for keeping out of the sun. Of course, be aware that you can still get a sunburn with more thin clothing. If possible, apply a 30+ SPF sunscreen whenever you know that you’re going to be exposed to the sun. I like this sunscreen from Amazon because it’s a natural and chemical-free alternative.
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