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.

View the Adult Skin Problems Slideshow Pictures

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

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

Do sunscreens expire?

Sunscreens may degrade over time or after long exposure to sun and heat. The bottle should not be kept in the car or under direct sun exposure for a long period of time. If the expiration date has passed, the product should be discarded. Sunscreens generally expire or lose their effectiveness after about three years.

Can antioxidants protect against sunburn?

Antioxidants are agents that can prevent certain harmful reactions in the body. The formation of some potentially harmful molecules, called free radicals, is one of these reactions. Antioxidants are natural agents that may prevent or reduce this formation.

Some of sun damage is a result of this reaction. Oral or topical antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E, and green tea) may theoretically protect the skin against sunburn. Clinical data is not sufficient to support their use instead of or in addition to, traditional sunscreen.

REFERENCES: Sunburn and Sun Protective Behaviors Among Adults Aged 18 - 29 Years - United States, 2000 - 2010. Drug-Induced Photosensitivity. FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens

National Cancer Institute. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results. SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Melanoma of the Skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology

National Cancer Institute. SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Melanoma and the Skin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/17/2015

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  • Sunburn - Experience

    Have you ever experienced a really bad sunburn? What was it like?

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  • Sunburn - Symptoms

    What symptoms did you have with a sunburn?

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  • Sunburn - Treatment

    What treatments helped relieve the pain, itching, peeling, etc. for sunburn?

  • Sunburn - Home Remedies

    What home remedies have you found helpful in treating the symptoms of a sunburn?

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  • Sunburn (Sun Poisoning) - Applying Sunscreen

    What tips do you use for applying sunscreen, for example, the time of day, how many applications, how to remind yourself to reapply sunscreen, etc.


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