Tips for Caring for a Sunburn

Jun 22, 2021 / Dermatology

By Shawn Eck, PA-C
Division of Dermatology

It’s that time of year when sunburns are all too common. Here’s some tips to help your skin heal if you forget to cover up or reapply your sunscreen.

  1. Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. When you get out of the bathtub or shower gently pat yourself dry and use a moisturizer to help ease the dryness.
  2. Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream. (Do not treat sunburn with benzocaine or similar products, as these may irritate the skin.)
  3. Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.
  4. Drink extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned can help prevent dehydration.
  5. If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal. Blistering skin means you have a second-degree sunburn. You should not pop the blisters, as blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
  6. Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear lightweight clothing that covers your skin when outdoors. Tightly-woven fabrics work best. (when you hold the fabric up to a bright light, you shouldn’t see any light coming through).

Keep in mind that even a single bad sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer because it damages the genetic material in your skin cells. So always do your best to avoid getting burned and get regular skin cancer check-ups (especially if you are fair-skinned).

Tips for Caring for a Sunburn

About Shawn Eck, PA-C

Physician Assistant Shawn Eck is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. With a strong interest in biology, medicine and research, becoming a Physician Assistant was an easy choice for Shawn. “I enjoy working as a physician assistant in Dermatology because you get to see the results of treating patients, which I find very gratifying,” he explains. Shawn lives by the...

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