Can i go back in the sun with a sunburn: Family, Parenting, Pet and Lifestyle Tips That Bring Us Closer Together
Sunburn – Injuries & first aid
Sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. It usually causes the skin to become red, sore, warm, tender and occasionally itchy for about a week.
The skin will normally start to flake and peel after a few days and will usually fully heal within seven days.
While sunburn is often short-lived and mild, it’s important to try to avoid it, because it can increase your chances of developing serious health problems, such as skin cancer, in later life.
It’s easy to underestimate your exposure to the sun when outside, as the redness doesn’t usually develop for several hours. Breezes and getting wet (such as going in and out of the sea) may cool your skin, so you don’t realise you’re getting burnt.
You should always be aware of the risk of sunburn if you’re outside in strong sun, and look out for your skin getting hot.
What to do if you’re sunburnt
If you or your child has sunburn, you should get out of the sun as soon as possible – head indoors or into a shady area.
You can usually treat mild sunburn at home, although there are some circumstances where you should seek medical advice (see below).
The following advice may help to relieve your symptoms until your skin heals:
- Cool the skin by sponging it with cold water or by having a cold bath or shower – applying a cold compress such as a cold flannel to the affected area may also help.
- Drink plenty of fluids to cool you down and prevent dehydration.
- Take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve any pain – aspirin should not be given to children under 16.
Try to avoid all sunlight, including through windows, by covering up the affected areas of skin until your skin has fully healed.
When to seek medical advice
You should contact your GP or the NHS 24 111 service for advice if you feel unwell or have any concerns about your sunburn, particularly if you are burnt over a large area or have any of the more severe symptoms listed below.
You should also see your GP if a young child or baby has sunburn, as their skin is particularly fragile.
Signs of severe sunburn can include:
- blistering or swelling of the skin (oedema)
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above, or 37.5C (99.5F) or above in children under five
- dizziness, headaches and feeling sick (symptoms of heat exhaustion)
Your GP may recommend using hydrocortisone cream for a few days (this is also available over the counter at pharmacies) to reduce the inflammation of your skin.
Severe sunburn may require special burn cream and burn dressings from your GP or a nurse at your GP surgery. Very occasionally, hospital treatment may be needed.
Who’s at risk of sunburn?
Everyone who is exposed to UV light is at risk of getting sunburn, although some people are more vulnerable than others.
You should take extra care when out in the sun if you:
- have pale, white or light brown skin
- have freckles or red or fair hair
- tend to burn rather than tan
- have many moles
- have skin problems relating to a medical condition
- are only exposed to intense sun occasionally – for example, while on holiday
- are in a hot country where the sun is particularly intense
- have a family history of skin cancer
People who spend a lot of time in the sun, whether it’s for work or play, are at increased risk of skin cancer if they don’t take the right precautions.
Snow, sand, concrete and water can reflect the sun’s rays onto your skin, and the sun is more intense at high altitudes.
Dangers of UV rays
The short-term risks of sun exposure are sunburn and sun allergy.
The longer-term risks (over decades) include:
- actinic (solar) keratoses – rough and scaly pre-cancerous spots on the skin
- skin cancer – including both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer
- eye problems – such as photokeratitis (snow blindness) and cataracts
- premature ageing of the skin and wrinkling
Skin should be protected from strong sunlight by covering up with suitable clothing, seeking shade and applying sunscreen.
In the UK, the risk of getting sunburnt is highest from March to October, particularly from 11am to 3pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
There is also a risk of getting sunburn in other weather conditions – for example, light reflecting off snow can also cause sunburn. You can also burn in cloudy and cool conditions.
- a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears
- a long-sleeved top
- trousers or long skirts in close-weave fabrics that do not allow sunlight through
- sunglasses with wraparound lenses or wide arms with the CE Mark and European Standard EN 1836:2005.
When buying sunscreen, make sure it’s suitable for your skin and blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
The sunscreen label should have:
- the letters “UVA” in a circle logo and at least 4-star UVA protection
- at least SPF15 sunscreen to protect against UVB
Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. The amount of sunscreen needed for the body of an average adult to achieve the stated sun protection factor (SPF) is around 35ml or 6 to 8 teaspoons of lotion.
If sunscreen is applied too thinly, it provides less protection. If you’re worried you might not be applying enough SPF15, you could use a stronger SPF30 sunscreen.
If you plan to be out in the sun long enough to risk burning, sunscreen needs to be applied twice:
- 30 minutes before going out
- just before you go out
Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears (and head if you have thinning or no hair), but a wide-brimmed hat is better.
How long it takes for your skin to go red or burn varies from person to person. The Cancer Research UK website has a handy tool where you can find out your skin type, to see when you might be at risk of burning.
Water-resistant sunscreen is needed if sweating or contact with water is likely.
Sunscreen needs to be reapplied liberally, frequently and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes straight after you’ve been in water (even if it is “water-resistant”) and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off.
Advice for babies and children
Children aged under six months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.
From March to October in the UK, children should:
- cover up with suitable clothing
- spend time in the shade (particularly from 11am to 3pm)
- wear at least SPF15 sunscreen
To ensure they get enough vitamin D, children aged under five are advised to take vitamin D supplements even if they do get out in the sun.
Sunburn – Better Health Channel
Sunburn is the skin’s reaction to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. You can see sunlight and feel heat (infrared radiation), but you can’t see or feel UV radiation. It can damage your skin even on cool, cloudy days.
Sunburn is a radiation burn to the skin. The signs of sunburn can start to appear in less than 15 minutes and skin can turn red within two to six hours of being burnt. It will continue to develop for the next 24 to 72 hours and, depending on the severity, can take days or weeks to heal. Sunburn will become worse with more exposure to UV rays. Mild sunburn can be treated at home, but severe and blistered sunburn requires prompt medical attention.
The long-term effects of repeated bouts of sunburn include premature wrinkling and an increased risk of skin cancer, including melanoma (the most dangerous type of skin cancer). Once DNA damage occurs, it is impossible to reverse. This is why prevention is much better than cure.
To prevent sunburn, use a combination of sun protection measures during the sun protection times each day (when the UV levels are forecast to reach 3 or higher). You can find these times on the SunSmart app or widget, or at the Bureau of Meteorology website.
In Victoria, UV levels are 3 or higher for much of the day from September to April. From May to August, UV levels are lower, so sun protection is not usually required, unless near reflective surfaces such as snow, or unless UV levels unexpectedly rise again.
People who work outdoors for long periods of time may need sun protection all year, as they have an increased risk of skin cancer.
Reduce the risk of sunburn
During the daily sun protection times, use a combination of five sun protection measures to reduce your risk of sunburn.
- Slip – on sun-protective clothing (make sure it covers as much skin as possible).
- Slop – on SPF (sun protection factor) 30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Apply 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours.
- Slap – on a broad-brimmed hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek – shade.
- Slide – on wrap-around sunglasses (make sure they meet Australian Standard AS/NZS 1067).
Symptoms of sunburn
The symptoms of sunburn include:
- changes in skin colour, ranging from pink to red and even purple
- skin that feels hot to the touch
- pain and/or itching
- fluid-filled blisters that may itch and eventually pop or break
- broken blisters that peel to reveal even more tender skin beneath.
Sunburnt skin will change colour within two to six hours of being burnt and the colour change will continue to develop for up to seventy-two hours.
Australians and sunburn
On a summer’s day in Australia, sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes. All types of sunburn, whether serious or mild, can cause permanent and irreversible skin damage. This could lay the groundwork for skin cancers to develop. Further sunburn only increases your risk of skin cancer. Over 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year.
According to Cancer Council’s National Sun Protection Survey, there has been a sustained decrease in weekend sunburn among Australian adolescents and adults, however, further improvements are required.
Even the relatively low sunburn incidence across the 2013–14 summer translates to 2.4 million adults being sunburnt on any given summer weekend.
Males are more likely to get sunburnt than females, because they spend more time outside during peak UV times and are less likely to use sun protection.
UV radiation and sunburn
In addition to light and heat, the sun gives out invisible UV radiation. UV radiation can pass through light cloud. It can also be scattered in the air and reflected by surfaces such as buildings, concrete, sand and snow.
The three types of UV radiation (based on wavelength) are UVA, UVB and UVC. The earth’s atmosphere absorbs nearly all of UVC radiation (the most dangerous type) before it reaches the ground.
UVA and UVB radiation are both involved in sunburn, but skin reacts differently to each type of radiation:
- UVA – penetrates into the deeper skin layers and damages the sites where new skin cells are generated. Too much UVA radiation leads to roughening, dryness, blotchiness, wrinkling and sagging of the skin. High doses of UVA radiation can also cause sunburn, damage to genes in skin cells and skin cancer.
- UVB – is even more dangerous than UVA radiation, causing tanning, burning, ageing, skin damage and significantly promoting the development of skin cancer. It affects the surface skin layer. The skin responds by releasing chemicals that dilate blood vessels. This causes fluid leakage and inflammation – better known as sunburn.
How UV affects your skin
Skin cells in the top layer of skin (epidermis) produce a pigment called melanin, which gives skin its natural colour. When skin is exposed to UV radiation, more melanin is produced, causing the skin to darken and tan. A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged from UV radiation. It is not a sign of good health.
It is important to remember that tanning without burning can still cause skin damage, premature skin ageing and skin cancer. UV radiation can cause irreparable damage to the genes in the skin’s cells. Each time you expose your skin to UV radiation from the sun or from a solarium, you increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Solariums are not safe
It is a myth that using a solarium is a safe way to tan. Solarium tans offer no protection against genetic damage to skin cells, which can occur without burning.
Due to the associated health risks, commercial solariums have been banned in Victoria since January 2015. Prior to the ban, it was estimated that each year in Australia, 281 new melanoma cases, 43 melanoma-related deaths, and 2,572 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma were attributable to solarium use.
UV and vitamin D
The sun’s UV radiation is the major cause of skin cancer and the best natural source of vitamin D, which is needed for strong bones and overall health. In Victoria, it is important to take a balanced UV approach to reduce the risk of skin cancer, while getting some exposure to help with vitamin D levels.
UV in Victoria between September and April
Between September and April in Victoria (when UV levels are generally high), a combination of sun protection measures should be used – even for people who have been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. During this time of year, most people make enough vitamin D because UV levels are high and more time is spent outdoors.
During these months, most Victorians need just a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure for their vitamin D needs, being extra cautious in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense.
Sunscreen use (SPF30 or higher) during the daily sun protection times should not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
UV in Victoria between May and August
From May to August in Victoria (when UV levels are generally low) sun protection is not required, so people are encouraged to be outdoors around midday each day, with some skin uncovered. Being physically active outdoors will also help boost vitamin D levels.
At this time of year, sun protection is also recommended when near reflective surfaces (such as snow), or if UV levels reach 3 or higher.
People who work outdoors for long periods of time may need sun protection all year, as they have an increased risk of skin cancer.
Daily sun protection times
UV radiation levels vary depending on the location, time of year, time of day, cloud coverage and the environment. Sun protection is recommended whenever UV levels reach 3 or higher.
To find out when you do and don’t need sun protection at your location, check the daily sun protection times, available as a free SunSmart app, online at SunSmart on the Bureau of Meteorology website, in the weather section of newspapers, or as a free website widget.
Treatment for sunburn
There is no cure for the symptoms of sunburn except time and patience. Treatment aims to help manage the symptoms while the body heals. Suggestions include:
- Drink plenty of water, because spending time in the sun can lead to dehydration as well as sunburn.
- Gently apply cool or cold compresses, or bathe the area in cool water.
- Avoid using soap as this may irritate your skin.
- Speak to a pharmacist about products that help soothe sunburn. Choose spray-on solutions rather than creams which require rubbing in by hand.
- Don’t pop blisters. Consider covering itchy blisters with a wound dressing to reduce the risk of infection.
- If your skin is not too painful, apply moisturiser. This won’t stop the burnt skin from peeling off, but it will help boost the moisture content of the skin beneath. Do not apply butter to sunburnt skin.
- Take over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, if necessary.
- Keep out of the sun until your skin has completely healed.
Peeling sunburnt skin
There’s no cream or lotion that will stop burnt skin from peeling off. This is part of the natural healing process. When skin is peeling:
- Resist the temptation and don’t pick at the skin. Allow the dead skin sheets to detach on their own.
- Remove detached skin carefully and slowly. Don’t rip skin sheets off or you risk removing more skin than you intended.
- Apply antiseptic cream to the newly revealed skin to reduce the risk of infection.
Treatment for severe sunburn
See a doctor or seek treatment from the nearest hospital emergency department if you experience:
- severe sunburn with extensive blistering and pain
- sunburn over a large area of skin
- nausea and vomiting
- dizziness or altered states of consciousness.
Sunburn prevention is best
Suggestions on how to avoid getting sunburnt include:
- Don’t assume that sun exposure is safe when you can’t feel it sting your skin – that sting or bite is heat, not UV radiation. If you’re not sure, don’t chance it – check the sun protection times for your location.
- UV radiation levels aren’t linked to temperature. Don’t rely on the temperature to gauge when you need sun protection. Check the sun protection times each day and Slip! Slop! Slap! Seek! and Slide!
- Many Australians get sunburnt around water, at the beach or the pool. If there is no shade, you’ll need to protect yourself in other ways.
- You can get sunburnt when you’re relaxing and taking it easy, such as watching outdoor sports, picnicking at the park or while playing sports.
- Winter activities, such as snow skiing and snowboarding pose a high risk of sunburn because UV radiation is already higher in alpine regions than at sea level. Snow is also very efficient at reflecting UV radiation.
- What many people assume is ‘windburn’ is actually sunburn. While wind can dry the skin, it doesn’t burn.
- A tan doesn’t protect against skin and eye damage, or the risk of skin cancer.
- Babies under 12 months should not be exposed to direct UV and should be well protected from the sun. Always try to keep babies and children in the shade and use clothing to cover most of their body. Use small amounts of child-friendly sunscreen on uncovered areas such as the face and hands whenever children are exposed to the sun.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
- Cancer Council 13 11 20 for information and support.
- Multilingual Cancer Information Line Tel. 13 14 50
- Radiation Safety Hotline, Department of Health, Victorian Government Tel. 1300 767 469
Things to remember
- Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes and, depending on the severity, can take a few days or weeks to heal.
- There is no cure for the symptoms of sunburn except time and patience.
- Mild sunburn can be treated at home, but severe and blistered sunburn needs prompt medical attention.
- Excessive exposure to UV damages the skin permanently and may cause skin cancer, including dangerous malignant melanoma.
- Each time you expose your skin to UV radiation, you increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
How Long Does It Take For Sunburned Skin to Heal?
A few hours in the sun can result in days of pain and peeling from a sunburn. If you don’t properly protect your skin, this can cause sun damage and raises your risk of skin cancer.
What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a Sunburn?
There’s no magical cure for sunburn. It takes time to get a sunburn and it takes time to heal from one. Follow these tips to promote optimal healing:
Drink Water: Sunburned skin pulls water toward it for healing. Drink plenty of extra water to stay well hydrated during the healing process.
Apply Soothing Balm: Frequently apply aloe vera gel to cool your sunburn or apply hydrocortisone cream. As your sunburn continues to heal, liberally moisturize the area with unscented creams or lotions.
Don’t Disturb Blisters: If your skin blisters after a sunburn, avoid picking or popping the blisters. Intact blisters promote healing. If they pop on their own, keep them clean and covered to prevent infection.
How Long Does a Bad Sunburn Last?
A moderate sunburn, where the skin is swollen and hot to the touch, can take a week to heal completely. A severe sunburn, characterized by intensely hot, red skin followed by blisters, can take up to two weeks to heal.
How Long Do Sunburns Take to Fade?
If you have a mild sunburn, you’ll notice redness about two to six hours after sun exposure. The redness will fade in about two days. The more severe your sunburn, the longer it will take to for the redness to subside.
Do Sunburns Turn into Tans?
After you heal from a sunburn, the affected area may be more tan than usual, but tanning is just another form of skin damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.
When Should I See a Doctor for a Sunburn?
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms with your sunburn, see Dr. VonHilsheimer for treatment:
- Increased pulse
- Intense thirst
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blisters that cover large areas
- Infection of blisters
Do Sunburns Turn into Freckles?
Freckles are caused by excess levels of melanin in the skin. When your skin absorbs ultraviolet rays from the sun, your freckles will become more apparent.
What is the Best Treatment for Sunburn?
The best treatment for sunburn is prevention – wear sunscreen and reapply it often. However, accidents happen so take care of your sunburn by keeping the area moisturized, staying hydrated, and keeping the sunburn lightly covered in absorbent fabric.
How Do You Get Rid of a Sunburn Overnight?
If you have a mild sunburn, the redness may last only a day at most. Keep the area moisturized for fastest healing.
What Heals Sunburn?
If you get a moderate to severe sunburn, you may need up to two weeks to completely heal. Follow the tips previously mentioned and see your doctor if you think your sunburn isn’t healing properly.
How Bad is a Bad Sunburn?
All sunburns are bad. Getting multiple sunburns that blister and peel in your youth can cause premature aging, wrinkles, and increases your chances of getting skin cancer later in life.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
If you’ve suffered a bad sunburn and need professional treatment, make an appointment today with the dermatologists of Pruett Dermatology in Islamorada or Key West, FL. At Pruett, we provide the highest quality of dermatological services and give each person personalized attention and treatment.
What Actually Happens to Your Body When You Get Sunburned?
We’ve all been sunburned before, but what actually happens to your body when you get sunburned? Here are just a few processes that occur when you’ve soaked up a bit too many sun rays:
What is a sunburn?
A sunburn is your body’s natural reaction to damage caused by too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunburns instantly damage the outermost layer of skin, called the epidermis.
The American Cancer Society has stated that people with fair skin and light hair are more at risk for sunburns, due to their skin’s lack of melanin (which is a molecule that controls skin pigment). But regardless of what shade your skin is, you should always wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen when you’ll be spending time outside.
Related: How to Choose Sunscreen and When To Reapply
Why is your skin red?
As soon as your skin has soaked up too much sun, your body responds. The redness and pain sunburns cause are from your body’s immune system kicking in and its natural inflammatory response. Extra blood is also sent into the damaged skin to help heal the skin cells.
Can you pop the blisters?
When you suffer a particularly bad sunburn, you might find your skin covered with blisters after a few hours. But blisters actually have a purpose other than being super painful and irritating. These blisters are filled with plasma and create a sort of shield to prevent any extra damage while your skin heals. But you should never touch or pop the blisters, because popping them can increase your risk for infection.
Why does your skin peel?
Peeling skin is a result of the healing process! Your body begins to replace the skin that was damaged by regenerating. But just like the blisters, it’s important to allow it to peel on its own. And, even more importantly, make sure you cover the new skin in the peeling area thoroughly with sun block before exposing it to the sun again.
Whether you tan or your skin turns back to normal after a sunburn, if you have suffered sunburns over the years, it’s important for you to visit a dermatologist for a skin cancer check every so often. Skin cancers normally don’t develop until quite a few years down the road after sun exposure. Pay attention to any changing moles or strange patches of skin on your body. The American Cancer Society has a suggested self-evaluation that can be incorporated into a monthly check as well.
Related: Should You Put On Sunscreen or Bug Repellent First?
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Is this your child’s symptom?
- Red or blistered skin from too much sun
- The redness, pain and swelling starts at 4 hours after being in the sun
- It peaks at 24 hours, and starts to get better after 48 hours
Severity of Sunburn
- Most sunburn is a first-degree burn that turns the skin pink or red.
- Prolonged sun exposure can cause blistering and a second-degree burn.
- Sunburn never causes a third-degree burn or scarring.
Causes of Sunburn
- Direct sun exposure. Warning: clouds don’t help. 70% of UV light still gets through on cloudy days.
- Reflected sun rays. From snow 80% is reflected, from sand 20%, from water only 5%.
- Tanning lamp or sun lamp.
- Tanning bed. A common cause in teens.
Ibuprofen to Reduce Pain and Other Symptoms
- Sunburn is an inflammatory reaction of the skin.
- Ibuprofen is a drug that can block this reaction. It can reduce the redness and swelling. But, it needs to be started early.
- Sunburns are sneaky. Many parents are surprised when their child gets a sunburn. Reason: there are no warning signs while the burn is occurring.
- Redness (sunburn) often is not seen until 4 hours after being in the sun. The pain and redness keep getting worse. They don’t peak for 24 to 36 hours.
- Lesson: if you think your child got too much sun, start ibuprofen then. Give it 3 times per day for 2 days. Don’t wait for redness.
When to Call for Sunburn
Call 911 Now
- Passed out (fainted) or too weak to stand
- You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- Fever over 104° F (40° C)
- Can’t look at lights because of eye pain
- Fever and looks infected (spreading redness more than 48 hours after the sunburn)
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Sunburn pain is severe and not better after using care advice
- Large blisters (more than ½ inch or 12 mm)
- Many small blisters at the burn site
- Blisters on the face
- Swollen feet make it hard to walk
- Looks infected (draining pus, red streaks, worse pain after day 2) and no fever
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Itchy rashes in sun-exposed skin occur many times
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treating Mild Sunburn
- What You Should Know About Sunburns:
- Most sunburns do not blister.
- Most blisters can be treated without needing to see a doctor.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Ibuprofen for Pain:
- For pain relief, give an ibuprofen product (such as Advil). Start this as soon as you can.
- Give every 6-8 hours.
- Reason: If started within 6 hours, it can greatly limit the pain and swelling. Must give for 2 days.
- Caution: Not approved for age under 6 months.
- Steroid Cream for Pain:
- Use 1% hydrocortisone cream (such as Cortaid) as soon as possible. No prescription is needed.
- Put it on 3 times per day.
- If used early and continued for 2 days, it may reduce swelling and pain.
- Use a moisturizing cream or aloe vera cream until you can get some.
- Use creams only. Avoid putting ointments on red skin. Reason: They can block the sweat glands.
- Burned skin can be very painful. Covering it with a cream can give great relief.
- Cool Baths for Pain:
- Use cool wet washcloths to the burned area. Do this several times a day to reduce pain and burning.
- For larger sunburns, give cool baths for 10 minutes. Caution: Avoid any chill. Can add 2 ounces (60 mL) baking soda per tub.
- Do not use soap on the sunburn.
- Fluids – Offer More:
- Offer extra water on the first day.
- This helps to replace the fluids lost into the sunburn.
- This will also help to prevent dehydration and dizziness.
- Blisters – Don’t Open:
- Caution: Leave closed blisters alone. Reason: To prevent infection.
- For broken blisters, trim off the dead skin. Use a fine scissors cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
- Antibiotic Ointment for Open Blisters:
- For any large open blisters, use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin). No prescription is needed.
- Remove it with warm water. Then, reapply it 2 times a day for 3 days.
- What to Expect:
- Pain stops after 2 or 3 days.
- Peeling occurs day 5-7.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain becomes severe
- Sunburn looks infected
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Fair-skinned children need a sunscreen with an SPF of 30. This is especially true if your child has red or blond hair.
- Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. This gives it time to get down into the skin. Give special attention to the areas most likely to become sunburned. Examples are the nose, ears, cheeks, and shoulders.
- Put sunscreen back on every 3 to 4 hours. Apply often while swimming or if sweating a lot. A “waterproof” sunscreen stays on for about 30 minutes in water.
- Most people use too little sunscreen. The average adult requires 1 ounce (30 mL) of sunscreen at a time.
- The best way to prevent skin cancer is to prevent sunburns.
- Infants and Sunscreens:
- The skin of infants is thinner than the skin of older children. It is more sensitive to the sun. Sunburns can occur quickly.
- Sun avoidance is best for children under 6 months. Stay in the shade.
- Sun avoidance or sun proof clothing are best for children 6 months to 3 years. If they have to be in the sun, use clothes that fully cover the arms and legs. Also, have your child wear a hat with a brim. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin. Use a stroller with a canopy.
- When a sunscreen is needed, infants can use adult sunscreens. The FDA hasn’t approved their use under 6 months old. However, the AAP supports their use at this age. There are no reported harmful side effects from today’s sunscreens.
- Protect Lips, Nose and Eyes:
- To prevent sunburned lips, apply a lip coating that contains sunscreen.
- If the nose or some other area has been burned often, protect it completely. Use zinc oxide or titanium oxide ointment.
- Protect your child’s eyes from the sun’s rays and cataracts with good sunglasses.
- High-Risk Children:
- Some children are at higher risk for sunburn. If your child has red or blond hair, he is at higher risk. Fair-skinned children and children who never tan are also at higher risk.
- These children need to use a sunscreen even for brief exposures.
- They should avoid sun exposure whenever possible.
- High-Risk Time of Day:
- Avoid exposure to the sun during the hours of 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This is when the sun’s rays are most intense.
- Caution: When overcast, over 70% of the sun’s rays still get through the clouds.
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Last Reviewed: 05/30/2021
Last Revised: 03/11/2021
Copyright 2000-2021. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.
Sun Safety | Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Too much sun can cause skin cancer. This video explains how to protect your skin from the sun.
Spending time outside is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress, and get vitamin D.external icon You can work and play outside without raising your skin cancer risk by protecting your skin from the sun.
Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells.
Protection from UV rays is important all year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days, and they reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. In the continental United States, UV rays tend to be strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daylight saving time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time).
The UV Indexexternal icon forecasts the strength of UV rays each day. If the UV index is 3 or higher in your area, protect your skin from too much exposure to the sun.
How to Protect Your Skin From the Sun
You can reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.
When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts, which can provide protection from UV rays. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing is certified under international standards as offering UV protection.
For the most protection, wear a hat that has a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.
If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using sunscreen, or staying in the shade.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.
How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast: 5 Tips for Sunburn Relief
As soon as you get out of the tub or shower, gently pat yourself dry. Leave a little moisture on your skin, then apply a moisturizer, the AAD advises. This helps trap the water on your skin and can reduce dryness that would exacerbate your irritation.
If you don’t have time to hang in the shower or bath, try placing a cool, damp towel on your skin for relief, Dr. Goldenberg says, and then follow it up with moisturizer.
Use a moisturizer with aloe vera, soy, or calamine. If that’s not enough, try a hydrocortisone cream.
People often champion aloe vera for its skin-soothing properties, including the Mayo Clinic and the AAD. And it can indeed help with the irritation of a sunburn. Soy might be a more surprising ingredient for sunburn aftercare, but it could allow your skin to trap more moisturizing water, according to research published in the journal Nutrients. You might also want to apply calamine lotion, according to the Mayo Clinic, to help with the itching and discomfort. And if you’re really having a rough go of it, you can use an OTC hydrocortisone cream, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Heads up: You’ll want to avoid products with petroleum, as moisturizing as they may seem, because they can trap heat in your skin, the AAD says.
Here are a few sunburn relief products that our editors tried and loved.
Take a pain reliever.
Your body sees a sunburn as an injury, so it responds with inflammation, Misha Rosenbach, M.D., associate professor of dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, tells SELF. Cue the pain. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, especially a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or ibuprofen, can help calm down your dermatological fire, Dr. Goldenberg says.
Avoid using pain relief products with ingredients ending in -caine.
There are plenty of pain-relieving creams and sprays out there with ingredients ending in -caine, like lidocaine and benzocaine. Take a pass on using them for your sunburn. They can irritate your tender skin or even cause an allergic reaction, the Mayo Clinic says.
Drink a lot of water.
A sunburn brings fluid to the surface of your skin and away from your insides, the AAD explains. Drinking more water than usual when you’re sunburned can help keep you from getting dehydrated.
Everyone’s fluid needs are different, but most women should drink around 11.5 cups of liquids a day, according to the Mayo Clinic. (This includes fluids from drinks like coffee and the foods you eat.) Aim to have a few extra cups of liquid per day if you’re sunburned, Dr. Goldenberg says, but don’t push it to the point where you’re uncomfortable. Alternately, don’t stop there if you still feel parched. Listen to your body.
What to do if your skin is peeling or blistering
If you have blisters, don’t even think about popping them. Blisters, which are your skin’s way of trying to heal and stave off infection, mean you have a second-degree burn that has gone past the outer layer of your skin, the AAD says. Though it’s super tempting to pop them, don’t. You might just be signing up for an infection, or at the very least, a world of pain.
If a blister breaks on its own, the Mayo Clinic recommends cleaning it with mild soap and water, dabbing on some antibiotic cream, then applying a nonstick gauze bandage.
90,000 Experts told how to protect yourself from hogweed burns
This summer, the hogweed occupies more and more territories and grows even on Moscow lawns. Why its juice causes terrible burns, how to protect yourself from them and what to do to the victims, Gazeta.Ru figured out.
Despite the fight against the hogweed in Russia, it conquers new territories. This summer, more and more often, Muscovites publish photographs of a cow parsnip growing within the Moscow Ring Road.
The genus “hogweed” includes up to 70 species.About 40 of them are found in Russia. Many contain substances that, on contact with the skin and exposure to sunlight, cause burns.
Aerosol of hogweed juice and its pollen at high concentrations can cause swelling of the upper respiratory tract (primarily the larynx) and the upper parts of the esophagus.
Sosnovsky’s hogweed was discovered by the Georgian scientist Ida Mandenova. She named it in honor of the outstanding researcher of the flora of the Caucasus, Dmitry Sosnovsky.
In the middle of the twentieth century, Sosnovsky’s hogweed was recognized as a promising forage plant.However, this use of it did not become the main one – the stems were too juicy and the silage from them was of poor quality, and estrogenic activity increased the risk of infertility in cattle. At the same time, it became known about the danger of getting hogweed juice on the skin.
Nevertheless, until the 1970s, Sosnovsky’s hogweed was used as a hedge – it was planted along the roads so that livestock and wild animals did not go out on them.
Sosnovsky’s hogweed was spread in Eastern and Northern Europe – in Germany, Belarus, Scandinavia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.Subsequently, it turned out that the plant easily runs wild and penetrates into natural ecosystems, almost completely destroying them. Together with the ability to cause severe burns, Sosnovsky’s hogweed has become a serious problem for nature.
Sosnovsky hogweed in 2012 was excluded from the register of breeding achievements approved for use on the territory of the Russian Federation. In 2015, it was listed in the weed classifier.
Hogweed causes burns due to the content of light-sensitive substances in the juice, furanocoumarins.In the shade, they are safe, but under the influence of ultraviolet radiation they turn into an active form and, if they get on the skin, can cause severe burns. At the same time, touching the plant does not cause unpleasant sensations and the scale of the problem becomes clear only later.
If in the eyes, hogweed juice can lead to blindness as a result of severe burns of the cornea of the eye.
There are cases when children became blind, playing with the hollow stems of a plant as with telescopes.
“I always say: I saw a hogweed – kill him.First, other plants die because of it. Secondly, it is extremely dangerous for humans: its juice causes burns. When exposed to ultraviolet rays, blisters appear on the skin, which heal for a very long time. Scars form on the affected areas, the skin does not get sunburn, ”Denis Polyakov, an activist of the Anti-Borshchevik movement, told the Vechernyaya Moskva newspaper.
When interacting with hogweed, for example, when mowing thickets, it is necessary to protect the skin with tight waterproof clothing and protect your eyes.It is better to do work in cloudy weather. Children should be explained that in no case should the stalks of the hogweed be used for games. Also, you cannot walk barefoot on the mown grass if you suspect that hogweed hemp may be found in it.
If the hogweed juice gets on the skin, it is necessary to immediately rinse the area with plenty of running water, use soap and a soft sponge.
If juice gets into eyes or mouth, rinse thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes.For the next 2-3 days, these places will have to be isolated from possible sunlight.
“Splashes of the sap of a poisonous plant still get on your clothes and skin, so you need to take a shower immediately after mowing and wash off the sticky juice with a sponge and soap,” says leading researcher at the Department of Acute Poisoning and Somatopsychiatric Disorders, Anastasia Sklifosovsky Research Institute for Emergency Medicine Simonov. – Then dress in closed clothes and try not to get into the sun for several days.It is by interacting with the sun’s rays that furanocoumarins are capable of causing burns. ”
If a burn does appear, you should treat it with an antiseptic, apply a bandage, and take an antihistamine. Regardless of the area of the lesion, it is better to consult a doctor – it is not always possible to assess the scale of the problem on your own. You should not refuse hospitalization.
90,000 How to avoid sunburn: ice cream or oatmeal?
- Lindsay Brown
- BBC Newsbeat
Even the inhabitants of the British Isles felt the inevitable approach of summer, which last weekend the weather fleetingly indulged in frankly hot weather.The sun was so hot that many lovers of relaxation in the bosom of nature acquired a wonderful pinkish tint.
And although a short glimpse of summer immediately gave way to lingering rains, the approach of warm sunny days is inevitable, and, perhaps, it’s time to talk about sunburn and the means of dealing with them – mythical and real.
The easiest way to avoid burns is to apply a protective cream. But what if you forgot to do this?
There are many folk remedies for the care of damaged skin, but not all of them are effective.The BBC sought clarification from Dr. Nisit Sheth, a dermatologist at the British Skin Foundation, who explained how to deal with sunburn this summer.
Photo author, Thinkstock
When leather is on fire, you want to cool it down with something cold that is available on the beach.
However, Dr. Sheth warns that smearing ice cream on the skin is not a good idea:
“Ice cream cold certainly helps reduce inflammation, but food additives can trigger infection.In addition, doing this carefully, without diluting dirt, will not work. ”
For sunburns, it is often recommended to add a cup of unrefined oats to a cool bath.
And our dermatologist agrees:
“Oats and oatmeal are known to slow inflammation.Due to this effect, they are added to some medicinal ointments for eczema. “
” The easiest way for burns to use anti-inflammatory creams and other products based on oats, “explains the expert.
Photo author, thinkstock
We we know that in hot weather you need to drink a lot of water, but it is important to monitor the level of moisture in the body also when you burn out
For example, it is very useful to eat fruits and other fruits with a high content of water.In addition to moisture, they have other advantages.
“Watermelon, for example, and a number of other fruits contain a substance called lycopene, which has sunscreen properties,” explains the doctor. But eating fruit cannot cure burnt skin. ”
Photo by thinkstock
Some argue that a cool milk compress soothes damaged skin.
According to Nishit Sheth, milk has cooling and anti-inflammatory properties, but the substances it contains can lead to other problems.
“Milk contains lactic acid, which can irritate the skin,” says the specialist.
Photo by thinkstock
It may be more natural for some to sprinkle vinegar on French fries at beach cafes, but some claim it helps treat burns.
“People use apple cider vinegar for some skin problems, and sometimes it helps, but the acid it contains can cause irritation.”
Photo author, thinkstock
This remedy is highly recommended by doctors. It is most likely part of your sunscreen or after-sun lotion.
“Aloe is definitely anti-inflammatory and helps in treating sunburn,” says Sheth.
“It has been used successfully in skin care, but be careful not to apply it to wounds as it can trigger contact allergies.But it helps with burns. “
What are good remedies?
Photo author, thinkstock
The British British Skin Foundation gives some useful tips:
- Pain relievers
Pain pills such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can relieve pain and inflammation caused by sunburn.
- Skin cooling
Apply a cool compress – it can be just a towel soaked in cold water – and leave it on for 15 minutes.You can also take a cool shower or bath. If the skin is already blistered, then a bath is preferable.
After water treatment, apply a moisturizing cream or lotion. Gels and lotions containing aloe juice or soy are the best for softening the skin. Aloe not only cools, but also inhibits inflammation.
- Moisture in the body
Sunburn can cause dehydration. Drinking plenty of water can help keep you hydrated and help your body recover faster.Ideally, avoid drinking alcohol while treating burns, as it can also contribute to the loss of moisture in the body.
- Using low steroid creams
Using mild hormonal ointments such as 1% hydrocortisone for the first 48 hours will help numb the damaged area, relieve swelling and speed up the healing process.
Leave blisters alone, do not try to pierce them – this can lead to infection and subsequent scarring.After a few days, they will blow away on their own, but for now, treat your skin very gently.
How to avoid sunburn in babies: tells the pediatrician
The Samara region is located in a climatic zone with a deficit of sunny days, and we need the sun’s rays to form vitamin D, which is important for growth and development. Recreation in nature, on the beach by the ponds with a child is not only a pleasant time for the child to play, but also additional troubles for the parents.
Sometimes the rest ends with sunburn. Parents should provide everything so that the child does not get sunburned. If you follow some rules while staying in hot weather outdoors, the summer sun will not do any harm. Our skin contains a pigment – melanin, which is designed to protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation and is also involved in converting it into vitamin D. In young children, melanin is much less than in adults, which is why babies burn much faster in the sun.
The first SOS signal during sun exposure is skin redness. It is urgent to take the child into the shade, because if you continue to stay in the sun, burns will invariably occur. In most cases, the parents are to blame: babies can often be seen without a hat with a visor (or without a panama), they are in the sun longer than they should be, and besides, they play and frolic in the sun during the most “dangerous hours”.
It is important to assess the condition in time, not to wait for the appearance of blisters and loss of consciousness.It is necessary to react already with the appearance of a slight redness and an increase in the local temperature – apply a therapeutic gel to the skin, after which the condition should instantly improve. If there is no deterioration in well-being, and small bubbles later appear on the skin, we are dealing with 1 degree of burn.
At the 2nd degree of the burn, there is a clear reddening of the skin, the burned area “burns” and numerous blisters appear on it, the baby begins to have a fever, there may be a severe headache, weakness, and nausea.It is necessary not only to provide the child with local assistance, but also to start taking medications inside.
The worst situation is with the 3rd degree: the skin acquires a crimson-red hue, it is impossible to touch it, large blisters appear, the temperature reaches 38 degrees and the child may experience convulsions, vomiting and loss of consciousness. In this case, mandatory medical supervision is required. A 3rd degree sunburn is fraught with eye burns, so if the baby rubs his eyes, the conjunctiva turns red, there is swelling of the eyelids and lacrimation – be sure to visit an ophthalmologist.
When signs of sunburn appear in a child, the main task of parents is to provide first aid competently and quickly. To begin with, move the child to the shade and give him cool (not ice-cold) water to prevent dehydration. It is necessary to sit the child half-sitting, take off the embarrassing clothing and gently sprinkle water on the reddened areas. You can apply Dexpanthenol as an airy foam to reddened areas. The drug will help to quickly moisturize the skin and accelerate the regeneration processes.If vomiting appears, lay the child on its side, if the temperature rises, give antipyretic tablets or syrup (you can use Paracetamol and Ibuprofen). Never give aspirin to children! Remember that the effects of sunburn in children are more dangerous than in adults. The doctor will decide where to treat the child – at home or in the hospital, depending on the degree of the burn and the condition of the little patient.
It is strictly not allowed to lubricate burned skin areas with alcohol, dense fatty cream or oil during self-treatment.You should also not rub the reddened areas, it is better to moisten a handkerchief with water and apply, but in no case should you wipe it with ice or immerse the baby in cold water – convulsions may begin. Blisters should also not be pierced. An ambulance is indispensable in cases where it was not possible to bring down the high temperature, burns affected a large area of the body and the baby developed allergic reactions: spots on the body, swelling of the skin, it became difficult to breathe (laryngeal edema), itchy skin. If the blisters have broken through and a cloudy liquid is released from them, there is a loss of consciousness and the child is up to a year old – call the doctor urgently.It is important not to get confused, to provide first aid correctly and, if necessary, call an ambulance, but it is best to adhere to simple prevention rules and prevent sunburn!