Protecting your skin from the sun by using sunscreen and appropriate clothes will significantly reduce the risk of sunburn. It is important to try and avoid the skin from burning as not only can it be painful but it can increase your chances of skin problems in the future such as solar keratosis and skin cancer.
Everyone who’s exposed to UV light from the sun is at risk of getting sunburn, but some are more susceptible to sunburn than others. People with pale skin, with red hair and freckles, young children and those visiting very hot countries are all at greater risk and should take extra care.
With sunburn the skin becomes red, warm, sore and tender to touch. The skin may become flakey, peeling may occur and blisters may form. The skin will normally heal itself but may take a week or so. In the interim there are some measures you can take to help the healing process and minimise the pain associated with sunburn.
If you do notice sunburn it is important you treat it as soon as possible.
1. Get out of the sun and move indoors.
2. Cool the skin down by putting a cold damp towel over the effected skin for 10-15 minutes a few times a day. Also consider having a cold bath or shower.
3. Apply creams and lotions containing aloe vera to soothe and moisturise the effected skin. Avoid lotions that contain lidocaine, benzocaine or petroleum as these will further irritate the skin.
4. Its very important that you drink extra water which will prevent you from getting dehydrated.
5. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can help with the pain associated with sunburn.
6. If blisters do form leave them alone and do not burst them.
7. Whilst the skin is healing it is important you protect the skin from further sun damage which means avoiding too much sun exposure and wearing clothes that cover your skin.
8. If you develop a fever (temperature above 38C), chills, headaches, dizziness or nausea then you should see your GP, attend a walk in centre or visit your closest A+E.