The best way to treat a sunburn is prevention! However, we all make mistakes, we get busy and forget to reapply sunscreen, but now you’re burnt. It can take several hours to see the full extent of the sunburn, but there are some ways to ease the pain.
- Cool Your Skin
Cool your skin with cool water (i.e. shower, pool, ocean). If you’re still outside, cover up and get out of the sun immediately. You can continue to cool your skin with cold compresses, but do not apply ice directly to the sunburn. If you shower, avoid harsh soap, which can irritate the skin even more.
It is important to moisturize while the skin is still a little damp. Use a moisturizing lotion (not oil-based ointment such as petroleum jelly which may trap the heat inside). Repeat frequently to keep burned or peeling skin moist.
- Decrease Inflammation
When you notice a sunburn, you can decrease inflammation by taking a NSAID pain relievers if approved by your physician.
Replenishing your fluids is important; sunburns can draw fluid to the skin’s surface taking it away from the rest of the body possibly causing dehydration.
- If Your Skin Blisters
If your skin begins to blister, our Board-Certified Dermatologist recommend that you DON’T pop or pick at them.
While your skin is tender, avoid wearing tight fitted clothing to avoid further irritation. Your skin will heal, but the risk for developing melanoma doubles if you’ve had more than five sunburns. It’s important to take sun protection seriously and stop sunburns from happening in the future.
If you or a child has severe blistering, fever/chills, or is woozy or confused,
contact the Knoxville office (865) 450-9361
Knoxville Institute of Dermatology
Elizabeth Anderson, MD Quyn Rahman, MD Adam Wright, MD Lindsey Best, FNP-BC
Knoxville, TN Lenoir City, TN