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:
- 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.