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Too Much Fun in the Sun

Did you have too much fun in the sun? Too much time in the tanning bed? Sunscreen wears off? Did you forget to reapply? You now have a sunburn. A sunburn is our skin’s response to extreme UV damage. It is an inflammatory reaction. The following tips may help you heal and soothe stinging skin.

First things first, when feeling or noticing a sunburn, get out of the sun as much as you can. From that point on, manage your symptoms. Your sunburned skin will be unable to keep moisture in the skin, use a cold, damp towel on the affected skin, or if a large area of skin, a cool bath or shower will help relieve the pain. Do not dry the skin completely after however, leave a little water on your skin and apply a moisturizer (Aloe Vera, Eucerin, etc) over it to trap the water and help ease the dryness. Do NOT use lotions or creams that contain petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine. They can increase skin irritation. Also, drink extra water to help your skin replenish the water it needs.

Other sunburn symptoms include swelling, redness, and discomfort. Over the counter anti-inflammatory products, (Motrin, Advil, Aleve), can help reduce those symptoms. Check with your local health care practitioner if those are suitable for you.

A more severe sunburn can cause skin blisters. Blistering skin is a second-degree sunburn. Allow the blisters to heal. Do NOT pop them. Popping sun blisters make the sunburn worse and could make it easier for an infection to start. If blisters do break, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover with a nonstick bandage.

Within a few days, your skin may begin to peel as it goes through the healing process. While peeling, continue to moisturize your skin liberally.

Consult a doctor if your sunburn covers a large portion of your body with blisters, if the sunburn is accompanied by a high fever, headache, confusion, nausea, or chills, also if the skin looks infected and at-home remedies are not working.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

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