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Treating Sunburn

Summertime fun can sometimes bring too much sun.

This time of year is a favorite in New England and the warm sun feels great! Take a few minutes to protect your skin before going out to enjoy the sunshine. Wear long sleeves, sunglasses and a brimmed hat. If your skin will be exposed to potentially damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more. And remember, it takes a very short time to develop sunburn, but it takes hours for a sunburn to reveal itself.

 

 

If you do become sunburned, here are tips to minimize pain and maximize healing:

  • Apply a cool compress to affected areas or take a cool shower or bath.
  • Gently apply a cream containing hydrocortisone or vitamins C or E, which can speed the healing process.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Allow blistering and peeling to occur naturally, while continuing to apply a cream with vitamins C or E. This is your body's way of healing itself.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid further sun exposure.
  • Due to increased irritation and allergic reactions, do not use creams or ointments containing benzocaine or similar medication.¹

Call your physician if you develop more serious symptoms such as dizziness, fever or severe, painful blisters. Your physician can prescribe a prescription cream specific for treating burns and may need to prescribe additional medication as necessary to reduce inflammation or prevent infection.

 

 


 
¹Mayo Clinic. Diseases and Conditions: Sunburn, lifestyle and home remedies. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sunburn/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355 928. Accessed May 19, 2022.