No matter how diligent you are about sun protection, the occasional sunburn may sneak up on you. This combination of red skin, swelling, and tenderness can be seriously uncomfortable. However, you can find relief and avoid further sun damage by acting quickly. Here are some dermatologist-approved tips for soothing your sunburn.
As soon as you notice your sunburn, take steps to cool down the skin. Take a cold shower, draw a cool bath, or apply a cold compress to soothe initial pain. Just be sure to keep the shower or bath short, since too much water can dry out your skin. Applying a cool compress throughout the day can help control the pain and even reduce some swelling.
These areas of sun damaged skin can dry out quickly, eventually starting to peel. Apply a gentle moisturizer to the affected area as soon as you get out of the shower and as needed throughout the day. Moisturizers that include aloe vera or calamine might provide additional relief. Just be sure to stay away from products that contain petroleum or oil. These may trap heat against the skin and cause even more irritation.
Your body will direct fluid to the skin as your sunburn heals, which puts you at risk for dehydration. Drink plenty of water to replenish these fluids. Doing so is extra important if you’re spending more time outside in the heat. However, try to rest in a cool area if you have a severe sunburn.
Sunburns can result in swelling and redness on the skin. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen may reduce some swelling. Continue taking this medication as directed, and call your doctor if you have any questions.
Your skin is extra sensitive following a sunburn, so it’s important to practice skin care for sun damage. Moisturize the affected area before going outdoors and cover up with loose clothing if possible. Opaque fabrics will provide the most sun protection. If the burn is on an exposed area, be sure to apply SPF before you go outside and at least every two hours. Stay in the shade as much as possible.
If you’re experiencing severe blistering, signs of infection (such as oozing blisters), fever, or chills, be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you’ve been experiencing frequent sunburns or are concerned about sun damage, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
A dermatology provider can examine your skin for signs of sun damage and recommend sun damaged skin treatment. Individuals with fair skin who experience frequent sunburns likely have multiple skin cancer risk factors. Frequent screenings can monitor the condition of your skin and catch early signs of skin cancer.
As you enjoy the sunshine this summer, the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists can help you prioritize your skin health. Our team of experts offers skin cancer screenings and treatment for sun damage among our other cosmetic, medical, ad surgical services. We have offices in Montebello, CA and the Greater Los Angeles area, so contact us today to book an appointment.