How Do I Treat A Sunburn?

It’s important to begin treating a sunburn as soon as possible.

In addition to stopping further UV exposure, dermatologists recommend treating a sunburn with:

  • Cool baths to reduce the heat.
  • Moisturizer to help ease the discomfort caused by dryness. As soon as you get out of the bathtub, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then apply a moisturizer to trap the water in your skin.
  • Hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription to help ease discomfort.
  • Aspirin or ibuprofen. This can help reduce the swelling, redness and discomfort.
  • Drinking extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water prevents dehydration.

Do not treat sunburns with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine).

If your skin blisters, you have a second-degree sunburn.

Dermatologists recommend that you treat sunburn blisters by:

  • Allow the blisters to heal untouched. Blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
  • If the blisters cover a large area, such as the entire back, or you have chills, a headache or a fever, seek immediate medical care.

With any sunburn, you should avoid the sun while your skin heals. Be sure to cover the sunburn every time you head outdoors.

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