Treating a Sunburn Early Eases the Pain and May Minimize Damage
We know that you are diligently applying sunscreen daily but sometimes the occasional sunburn slips through. And when that happens, early treatment is the best way to ease pain and perhaps even minimize the damage. The Skin Cancer Foundation website is a great resource for prevention, skin cancer information, news, and events that revolve around skin care and skin protection. Here we offer a synopsis of the five treatment tips for a sunburn, based upon the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations:
- Act Quickly. A sunburn may take four to six hours for the symptoms to show. If you feel a tingling of a burn or see skin reddening or pink skin, get out of the sun and start treatment immediately. If possible, take a cool bath or shower and then proceed with step 2.
- Moisturize. Slather on a cream or lotion that is moisturizing. A product containing vitamin C and vitamin E may help limit the damage. Repeat moisturizing to make peeling and flaking less noticeable. Hydrocortisone cream is also okay to use for a day or two for any discomfort. Do not scrub, pick, or peel your skin or blisters.
- Hydrate. Drink extra water, juice, or sports drinks for the next few days. Any burn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body – potentially causing dehydration. Children are especially vulnerable to this, so watch for signs of dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, dizziness, headache, and sleepiness. Consult a doctor if they appear ill.
- Don’t Wait to Medicate. Taking a dose of Ibuprofen (i.e. Advil) as soon as you feel the signs of a sunburn helps to alleviate the swelling and redness and may prevent some long-term damage. Keep taking it for the next 48 hours.
- Assess the Damage. If a blistering burn covers more than 20% of the body (such as a child’s whole back) seek medical attention. If anyone with a sunburn is suffering from fevers or chills, seek medical help.
Re-evaluate your sun protection routine to prevent burns in the future. This may mean adding another layer of sun protection through hats and clothing or simply re-applying sunscreen on a regular basis when out on a sunny day. Visit the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website for information on skin cancer, prevention guidelines, healthy lifestyle tips, and more.