How to Treat Sunburn

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,467
    Dermatologist Amy Ross explains how to treat a sunburn.

    Amy Ross: My name is Dr. Amy Ross. I am a Board Certified Dermatologist and we will discuss briefly how to treat sunburn. A sunburn is actually a burn on the skin and the source of the burn for sunburn is Ultraviolet radiation from the sun. There are different degrees of the sunburn what we must commonly think about is the Erythema and redness associated with getting sunburned and this is what we call a first degree burn and this damages only the top layer of the skin. More severe sunburns result in superficial blistering on the skin and these are second degree burns and these damage not only the top layer of the skin but also the upper portion of the second layer of your skin. Immediately following sun exposure, the redness and Erythema peaks in intensity approximately in 24 hours. At home taking Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Naproxen can alleviate the initial symptoms and redness of sunburn. However, it will not completely eliminate the redness associated with sunburn. Cool bath will help relive some of the symptoms of sunburn, it is important to know to be sure to stay away from bath salts and oils because these may be irritating to the skin. Topical lotion such as Aloe Vera, which is historically thought of as a treatment for sunburns may help soothe the skin. However, one should stay away from topical anesthetic because these may also irritate the skin further. The redness associated with sunburn peaks about 24 hours and will fade in a day or so, this is followed by skin peeling approximately four to seven days following a acute sun exposer. Once you have recovered from the sun exposer, it is very important to protect yourself from the sun, using sunscreen or clothing to prevent a second sun burn. People are sometimes faultily led on to believe that once say had a "Base Tan", they are protected form future sun exposure. This is absolutely not true. A tan in a person provides an SPF of about two or three. So it is completely inadequate for protecting you from further sun exposure.

    Even with sun exposure that does not result in a significant sun burn, the long term effect including Skin Cancer cannot be reversed. So it is very important to protect yourself from the sun, prevent sun burn and do not rely on a tan to protect you from the sun.