Sunburn is sore and hot skin due to too much exposure to the sun. The area might flake and peel within a few days. Usually, you can treat yourself, and it gets better within a week.
You might have sunburn if your skin might:
- Feel hot even to touch
- Feel painful or sore
- Peel or flake (happens within a few days)
Your skin might also blister in case the sunburn is severe.
Your skin may also blister if your sunburn is severe. White skin turns red or pink, but black or brow skin won’t be noticeable during a sunburn.
How to treat sunburn yourself?
- Get inside or away from the sun as soon as possible
- Take a bath, cool shower, or use a damp towel to cool your skin (don’t let a young child or a baby get too cold)
- Use aftersun cream or spray
- Drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration
- Take painkillers like paracetamol for any pain
- Cover the area (sunburnt) from direct sunlight until healed
- Don’t use petroleum jelly on the sunburnt area
- Don’t put an ice pack or ice on the sunburnt area
- Don’t pop the blisters
- Avoid scratching or peeling the skin
- Don’t wear anything tight-fitting over the sunburnt area
Consult a doctor if:
You are out in the sun for a long time and:
- You have a blister or swollen skin
- You have temperature or are feeling hot and shivery
- You feel exhausted, dizzy, and sick
- You have muscle cramps and a headache
- Your young child or baby has sunburn
Remember, frequent sunburning can also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022