Last Updated on Aug 21, 2011

 Overview

  • Sunburn is a burn of the skin 
  • Results from overexposure to the sun 
  • Normal exposure results in the production of Vitamin D 
  • Most of us become sun burnt at some time in life 
  • Sunburn causes a lot of discomfort 
  • It can cause premature ageing/cancer 
  • Common in children/young adults 



Causes

  • Sun's ultraviolet rays during outdoor activities 
  • Tanning beds 
  • Traveling to places at high altitude 

Risk factors
  • Light-skinned or fair-haired people 
  • Recent exposure to sun 
  • Prior skin injury 
  • Infections like Herpes, Porphyria 
  • Certain Medications like antibiotics, anti-psoriatic drugs 

Symptoms


The skin injury begins within 30 minutes of exposure to the sun
  • Redness of the skin 
  • Irritation 
  • Blisters 
  • Pain 
  • Skin burning 
  • Skin loss 
  • Dehydration 
  • Flu-like symptoms 
  • Infection 
  • Fever 
  • If very severe, shock leading to death may occur 
Treatment


Self-Help
  • Get out of the sun 
  • Cover the exposed area 
  • Take a cool bath 
  • Use a cool compress available commercially like, Burow solution 
    a. Dissolve solution in one pint of water 
    b. Soak a gauze or clean cloth in it 
    c. Wring it well 
    d. Apply to sun burnt area for 20 minutes 
    e. Change the cloth and solution every 2 hours 
  • Apply aloe-based solution 
  • Avoid using oils, bath salts, perfumed lotions etc 
  • Avoid scrubbing/shaving 
  • Use a gentle towel 
  • Stay out of the sun while sun burnt 

Consult a Doctor
In case of-
  • Pain 
  • Headache/confusion 
  • Blisters 
  • Nausea/vomiting 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Sunburn being present along with other medical condition 
Prevention
  • Wear hats, long-sleeved dress, long pants while out in the sun 
  • Try to avoid exposure to sun 
  • Use sun-block creams during exposure to sun 
  • Select a suitable SPF number for the sun block cream
  • Sun Blocks should be reapplied every 2-3 hours 
  • Avoid tanning beds 

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Comments

@delreengeorge, India

Do not wash your body directly after coming from the heat of the sun as it may cause sun burn.

@SecretEver, Singapore

Fresh Aloe Vera may be applied directly to the sun burnt area.
You may want to squeeze the aloe vera's juice as it would produce a soothing relief.