Sunburn (Sun Poisoning)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Sunburn

10 Home Remedies for Sunburn Treatment

Check out our top 10 tips to cool that sunburn!

  1. Place a cool compress on sunburned skin.
  2. Take a cool shower or bath.
    • Add one cup of cider vinegar to a bath to help balance the pH (acid or alkalinity) of sunburned skin, and promote healing.
    • Soak in an oatmeal bath. This is especially helpful for itchy sunburned skin.
  3. Use lotions that contain aloe Vera to soothe and moisturize skin. Some aloe products contain lidocaine, an anesthetic that can help relieve sunburn pain....

Quick GuideSun-Damaged Skin: Pictures of Sun Spots, Wrinkles, Sunburns

Sun-Damaged Skin: Pictures of Sun Spots, Wrinkles, Sunburns

Sunburn and sun poisoning facts

  • Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.
  • UV radiation damages the skin and also can damage the eyes.
  • UV rays are most intense at noon and the hours immediately before and after (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
  • Immediate symptoms of sunburn are
    • hot, red, tender skin;
    • pain when the skin is touched or rubbed; and
    • dehydration;
    • several days after exposure the skin may, swell, blister, peel, and itch.
  • Most sunburns are mild and can provide relief and be treated home remedies such as
    • applying damp cloths or compresses to reduce the pain,
    • soaking in a tepid bath (with no soap),
    • gently patting the skin dry,
    • applying soothing creams or lotions,
    • using OTC pain relievers such as Tylenol or others, and
    • moisturizing the skin.
  • Sunburn may cause permanent skin damage and skin cancer (malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma).
  • UVB as well as UVA rays may cause damage to skin. UV rays may bounce off water, sand, snow, and other surfaces causing sunburn.
  • Persons with certain pigment disorders (albinism, lupus, porphyrias, vitiligo, and xeroderma pigmentosum) and individuals with fair skin are at most risk of sunburn.
  • Some medications may increase sensitivity to sunburn (photosensitivity).
  • The best way to prevent sunburn is to avoid long exposure to sunlight.
  • Sunscreen and sun-protective clothing are important measures to limit sun damage. Apply sunscreen before going outdoors, apply it liberally, and re-apply frequently.
  • Sun poisoning is caused by severe sunburn; its symptoms include
  • Heat stroke is a severe form of high body temperature (hyperthermia) that is life-threatening.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/17/2015

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