What is Sunburn
Sunburn is an inflamed skin caused by too much exposure from the Ultraviolet radiation of the sun. This feels painful to touch and may cause redness, peeling, or flaking. In serious cases, it can result in pus, infection, vomiting, or numbness. Symptoms may include redness, pain, tenderness, swelling, fever, headache, vomiting, itchiness, blisters, and pus. This usually appears a few hours after extreme exposure to the sun and may take several days to heal.
Best Way to Treat a Sunburn
A serious case of sunburn needs a physician’s professional assessment. But if you suffered from a minor or a less serious sunburn, here is the best way to treat it or at least calm down the stinging pain.
#1. Take a Cold Bath or Oatmeal Bath
Take a cold bath or shower to cool down and provide instant relief from the burning sensation but be careful not to overdo it since cold bath can also dry the skin. As an alternative, you may also try an oatmeal bath to soothe sunburned areas. Oatmeal is a natural moisturizer that helps with sunburn, eczema, or dry inflamed skin. It works by easing pain and itchiness discomfort while also hydrating the skin and providing lost moisture. How do you make an oatmeal bath? Follow these steps:
Step 1: Take one cup of colloidal oatmeal or finely ground oatmeal and sprinkle it into lukewarm water in a tub.
Step 2: Mix it until the water turns milky white in color.
Step 3: Get in the tub and soak in for 15-30 minutes and gently pat dry. Make sure not to rub your skin dry to avoid scratching the skin.
Checkout TikTok user @shinebrightwithstar’s version of oatmeal bath:
@shinebrightwithstar Give it a try! #dryskin #eczema #eczemaawareness #fyp #health #medical #fy #homemade #2ingredients ♬ Up Beat (Married Life) - Kenyi
#2. Apply moisturizer or Non-prescription Cream
Apply aloe vera gel to the sunburnt skin to keep it moisturized and heal dry skin. You may store it in the refrigerator so that it will give you a nice cool sensation when applied. Sunburn can cause itching and another way to soothe itching and peeling is to use a calamine lotion. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you may also use a non-prescription hydrocortisone cream three times a day for three days.
#3. Do not pop blisters
Blisters may indicate that you have a second-degree burn from the sun. As much as we have the urge to pop or prick it, NEVER do so. Blisters is your skin’s way of healing and protecting itself from being exposed to infection. Peeling blisters can leave you with a scar and dark marks that is hard to remove. If you see a blister, leave it alone unless you see pus coming out from it. Gently clean the area and consult your doctor if you see an abscess.
#4. Take Oral Medication
To reduce pain, you may use a pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Experts suggested that pain relievers work because our bodies treat sunburn as an injury and inflammation. If it gets extremely itchy, you may take an oral antihistamine. However, be careful with mixing and taking oral medicines at the same time. Some pain relievers already contain antihistamine, so it is best to consult with your doctor before combining oral medications.
#5. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water ensures that you rehydrate your skin since sunburn removes moisture and fluid from the skin surface. Water and sports drinks can replace lost fluid and electrolytes and prevent your skin from further dehydration.
When to See a Doctor
Anyone who has access to a doctor should get it checked, especially those with serious sunburn to prevent infection.
Call 911 or Emergency Medical Help
Immediately call 911 if the person inhibits serious symptoms or loss visual and start seizing. Another thing to watch out for is when the person starts vomiting and feeling nauseous.
Consult Your Doctor
If the sunburnt area is severe with blisters, pus, numbing, or when the affected person is under the age of one, immediately consult with your doctor.
Sunburn - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. (2022). Mayoclinic.org; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sunburn/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355928