Getting a sunburn looks bad, is painful, peels, and inflicts long-lasting damage to the skin. Even one blistering burn can double the lifetime risk of melanoma. Sunburns are preventable with sunscreen, shade, and clothing, but they can happen. Here are a few ways to ease the pain and damage of sunburn.
Act quickly. If you feel the tingling of sunburn or see any sign of skin reddening, get out of the sun and start treatment. Sunburns can sneak up on you, as it may take 4-5 hours for symptoms to develop after the actual burn.
Cool the skin with a bath or shower and slather on moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeat frequently. Consider using a product such as Noxzema to cool the skin also. It’s also OK to use a hydrocortisone cream (Cortaid) for a couple of days to decrease inflammation and relieve discomfort. Don’t scrub, pick or peel the skin.
Burns draw fluid to the skin and away from the rest of the body, so drink extra water for a few days.
Ibuprofen (Advil) also works as an anti-inflammatory to relieve discomfort for the first 48 hours after a sunburn. Just be sure to take it with food.
Most sunburns, even blistering ones, can be treated at home. If fever/chills develop, then seek medical attention.
Consider the burn a “warning” that your sun protection measure has failed and try to avoid another one. That means using sunscreen, covering up, wearing hats, and avoiding the sun as much as possible between 10 am -4 pm.