Fun in the sun can leave you with carefree memories, peaceful tranquility in the outdoors or a boost of immunity. But spending too much time in the sun puts you at risk for skin damage. The first effects of skin damage are sunburns. Sunburns are inflammation or irritation of the skin caused by exposure to the sun. Symptoms include red, itchy, pained skin, sometimes accompanied by blisters that are often hot to the touch. Ouch. If you have developed this condition, what is the best way to deal with a sunburn?

The best course of action for a sunburn is a combination of medication and self-care. Combining soothing remedies of pain relievers and topical creams is the most effective way to treat a sunburn. If your skin can tolerate it, take quick, frequent cool baths or showers to bring down the temperature of the skin and then immediately apply a moisturizer before fully dried to help lock moisture into the skin. Use aloe vera or hydrocortisone to provide relief to the skin. Avoid petroleum jelly or any over the counter treatments that end in “caine” as they may cause further irritation to the skin. Take an oral aspirin or ibuprofen to alleviate discomfort and swelling. Drink extra water to rehydrate the body. If returning to the sun, wear tight-woven, loose-fitting, dark fabrics that do not allow in any light to protect the skin while it heals. 

The average sunburn is much like a first degree burn in that it affects the outer layer of skin. If your sunburn blisters or brings on symptoms of nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness or fatigue, contact your doctor to avoid scarring, infection or permanent skin color changes.

Ultimately the best way to deal with a sunburn is to avoid getting one. Always wear sunscreen with SPF 30 and reapply every 2 hours. Wear sun-protective clothing when possible. Stay in the shade or wear a wide-brimmed hat that provides shade. Finally, schedule an annual skin exam with THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology by calling 602-867-7546 or book online at WEBSITE. Sun damage is the fastest way to age the skin. Keep young skin looking young but avoiding long term sun exposure, wearing sunscreen, and talking with your dermatologist about ways to care for and improve the skin you are in.