How to Treat Severe Sunburn

If you use sunscreen every day , reapply it correctly, and reapply every few hours (or whenever you sweat, swim, or towel dry), then you don’t need this article. But here we are. You are burned and it hurts. Now what?

Sunburn is impossible to get rid of, but there are a few things you can do to make yourself feel better while you wait for it to heal. And it really does heal, tanning is a real injury your body needs to heal.

Get out of the sun and put on some sunscreen

The main thing you need to do is not to make it worse . If you are in the sun and notice that you have a sunburn, get off it immediately. If you don’t notice any redness until the next morning, be sure to apply sunscreen before leaving the house.

The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends the use of sunscreen fabrics. Some beachwear may have an SPF label on the tag, but in general, you want something opaque when you bring it up to light.

Consider aloe, soy, or calamine lotion.

Aloe gel works well on tanned skin and is recommended by AAD when used with lotions containing soy. Calamine lotion is also soothing.

Hydrocortisone cream , available over the counter, is an anti-inflammatory that can reduce swelling, itching, and redness. It’s good to have mosquito bites on hand anyway, but you can also use it for sunburn.

Do not apply anything irritating to your skin

There are many different home remedies out there, and you should probably skip all of them. Do not apply, for example, vinegar or witch hazel to sunburn. Local anesthetics are not recommended by many experts because they can also irritate the skin. (I personally love my lidocaine aloe gel, but consider yourself forewarned.)

Take a cool bath or shower

One of the most effective ways to get relief is the simplest: just immerse yourself in a cool bath. Do not use knitwear as this can irritate the skin, and do not use more soap than necessary. Pat dry your skin as you leave the bath and apply moisturizer.

By the way, these should be cool baths, not cold ones. Ice baths and ice packs can irritate the skin. Be careful with yourself.

Take care of your whole body

Since sunburn is an injury that needs to be healed, you need to give your body a chance to heal. Avoid dehydration and consider taking anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen to temporarily relieve pain and redness.

Sunburns often accompany heat illness or dehydration, so watch for these symptoms. If you develop chills, fever, weakness, dizziness, rapid heart rate or breathing, seek medical attention.

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