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Sunburn rash images: Pictures of Skin Diseases and Problems

Sun Poisoning – Pictures, Treatment, Symptoms

There are few things more addicting than a sunny day–the warmth, the beach, a chance to pull out that sundress. But if you’ve ever dealt with the irritation of a sunburn, then you know that too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

And overexposure to the sun can cause *way* more pain and injury than just a typical sunburn, says Erum Ilyas, MD and dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology. “The skin plays a significant role in temperature regulation. When the body starts to overheat, the skin’s ability to regulate temperature diminishes.” Definitely not good. When this happens, you can be at risk of experiencing heat stroke or heat exhaustion, which come with symptoms like thirst, nausea, dizziness, headaches, dehydration, vomiting, confusion and rapid heart rate and breathing, says Dr. Ilyas.

Unfortunately, that’s not all you’re at risk for, either. If your sunburn is severe enough—we’re talking blisters, peeling, rash-like bumps—and is accompanied by other symptoms like a fever or chills, you may be suffering from what’s called sun poisoning.

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While you can usually treat a sunburn at home, sun poisoning is more serious and could require a trip to the doctor for IV fluid replenishment and antibiotics for any open wounds caused by the severe sunburn. If you’re curious what separates your everyday sunburn from sun poisoning, let these experts explain.

What is sun poisoning and what are the symptoms?

So, sun poisoning isn’t a formal medical term, but it’s “a common way for patients to describe a scenario where they experience a severe sunburn through UV radiation followed by other symptoms,” says Dr. Ilyas.

Those additional symptoms (outside of the pain, hot skin, sensitivity, and irritation you’ll feel from the sunburn itself) are fever, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, or shortness of breath, says Marisa Garshick, MD and assistant clinical professor at Cornell.

What does sun poisoning look like?

Basically, it looks like a really bad sunburn. “Sun poisoning looks like redness, blistering, and peeling on the affected skin,” says Dr. Garshick. Here are some photo examples of what sun poisoning can look like. Of course, if you have these visual symptoms without the others like nausea and fever, you may just have a nasty sunburn.


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Rash-like bumps

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How do you get sun poisoning?

Sun poisoning can occur after you’ve spent a significant amount of time in the sun, though exactly how much varies since some people are more sensitive to the sun than others–like those with fairer skin who typically have less melanin to protect them from the sun’s UV rays.

Dr. Ilyas points out that there are certain medications that can also may also make you more sensitive to the sun (they’re referred to as “photosensitizing” medications). Some of these include certain oral contraceptives, some blood pressure medications, and many acne and anti-aging topicals (think: retinol), says Dr. Ilyas. It’s best to check in with your doctor to determine if your medication falls into that category so you can be extra careful in the sun.

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Pregnancy is another factor that may determine how sensitive you are to the sun. “Hormonal changes during pregnancy have been noted to lead to increased sensitivity to the sun,” says Dr. Ilyas. “This could result in both a higher chance of a sunburn and/or pigment changes.” It’s best to take extra precautions when you’re pregnant since sun poisoning can also impact the baby’s core body temperature.

It’s important to note that sun poisoning can occur even if you don’t feel hot, says Dr. Ilyas. “It is not uncommon for skiers in subzero temperatures to experience a sunburn, as the UV is intense and magnified by fresh snow in spite of cold temperatures,” she says.

What does sun poisoning treatment involve?

To treat sun poisoning, Dr. Garshick recommends avoiding the sun, drinking lots of fluids and applying cool compresses. You can also take aspirin or ibuprofen to alleviate pain and help reduce inflammation.

Sun poisoning can occur even if you don’t feel hot.

Dr. Garshick also says that an IV or antibiotics may be necessary in certain cases: “Depending on the degree of the condition, intravenous fluids may be needed to help with fluid loss or dehydration, electrolytes to help with electrolyte imbalance or antibiotics depending on if there are any open areas of the skin that could get infected.

Dr. Ilyas stresses heading to the doctor if you’re experiencing fever, chills, nausea, or malaise. “It is important to understand that our body’s response to a burn is not limited to the skin and can impact other organs,” she says. When in doubt, get it checked out.

How can you avoid getting sun poisoning?

To lower your risk of getting sun poisoning, Dr. Garshick suggests wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen, UVA and UVB, with SPF 30 or higher, and applying it every two hours. Dr. Ilyas recommends that your sunblocks also include agents like zinc and titanium, since both ingredients act as physically blockers and, therefore, protect you immediately (as opposed to chemical blockers, which take a little bit of time to absorb in the skin and start working).

It’s also important to remember to wear sunblock even when the temperature isn’t scorching outside. Again, most people aren’t thinking about sunscreen when the temperature is a little cooler, says Dr. Ilyas.

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Another step you can take to prevent sun poisoning is wearing sun-protective clothing. “The largest surface area of our body is covered by clothing, and choosing the right clothing is key. Much like with sunglasses, clothing that is not labeled as sun protective may be giving you a false sense of security,” says Dr. Ilyas.

Look for clothes that are specifically made for sun protection and say so on the tag. As for hats, she suggests making sure they’re labeled UV-protective and ideally have a three-inch brim all the way around.

Following these simple steps is the key to protecting your skin from sunburn and sun poisoning. Once you have these precautions in place, you can enjoy being outside and soaking up the light.

Jasmine Gomez

Commerce Editor

Jasmine Gomez is the Commerce Editor at Women’s Health, where she cover the best product recommendations across beauty, health, lifestyle, fitness, and more. When she’s not shopping for a living, she enjoys karaoke and dining out more than she cares to admit. Follow her @JazzeGomez.  

What it is, symptoms, causes, and treatments

A sun rash — known medically as a polymorphic light eruption — is a skin reaction due to sun exposure. It may cause irritation but does not usually result in serious complications. It typically resolves after a few days.

The rash usually occurs on exposure to sunlight in spring and summer and results from exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) light. However, UVB light can trigger it in some people.

The article below provides information on the types and causes of sun rash, as well as its symptoms. It also discusses a type of rash called polymorphic light eruption, how sun rash compares with sunburn, and treatments and prevention methods for sun rash.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, a sun rash is the most common type of skin disease that occurs due to sunlight.

The sun can stimulate numerous types of rashes, 2021 research says. These include:

  • immune-mediated conditions, such as:
    • polymorphic light eruption
    • juvenile spring eruption
    • actinic folliculitis
    • actinic prurigo
    • solar urticaria
  • drug-induced photosensitivity as a result of the following types of medications:
    • thiazides
    • tetracyclines
    • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
    • phenothiazines
    • voriconazole
    • quinine
    • vemurafenib
  • photo contact dermatitis due to chemicals such as:
    • psoralens in plants, vegetables, and fruit
    • fragrances in cosmetics, such as sunscreen chemicals
    • dyes and disinfectants
  • metabolic disorders
  • genetic disorders


Most common sun-induced rashes, such as polymorphic light eruption, are worse upon initial exposure to the sun, such as in the spring. In the summer, the rash is not as severe.

While it may vary, most people with a sun rash develop the same pattern of symptoms each year.

Some people may also have photoallergic dermatitis. This condition involves an allergic skin reaction to a substance in combination with UV rays.

A common substance that may also cause photoallergic dermatitis and a rash is benzophenone-3, found in some sunscreens.

Read more about sunscreen allergy.

Symptoms of common sun rashes include:

  • a rash that appears where the skin was exposed to the sun
  • raised patches or bumps that itch or burn and are found in sun-exposed areas
  • less or no reaction on the face and other areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun most of the year

Typically, symptoms start about 2 hours after exposure to the sun.

The severity of a sun rash may vary. The initial symptoms include:

  • burning
  • itching
  • redness
  • bumps

Some sun rashes cause small red dots, which are 2–5 mm in size. Rashes can appear differently on different skin tones. For example, on darker skin, the spots may appear white or gray.

Read more about signs of a rash on darker skin.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, polymorphic light eruption symptoms most often appear on areas of the body exposed to the sun, including:

  • chest
  • arms
  • legs

The skin bumps or lesions usually heal without any scarring. The condition may start at any time and can continue through a person’s life. In some cases, an individual may have a remission from the rash and not develop it for a few years.

Although symptoms may feel bothersome, a sun rash usually does not cause complications. In fact, 2022 research indicates that polymorphous light eruption is typically uncomplicated. But if the condition becomes severe, it can lead to:

  • emotional stress
  • anxiety
  • depression

Polymorphous light eruption is an immune-mediated rash that typically appears in the spring or summer. Experts suggest that occurs when a person has a delayed hypersensitivity reaction to an antigen expressed after exposure to sunlight or artificial sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

The condition affects roughly 10–20% of the population. Usually, the sun rash causes small bumps that appear on the skin a few hours after exposure.

Risk factors

A sun rash can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. However, certain risk factors make someone more likely to develop a sun rash.

Identified risk factors for polymorphous light eruption include:

  • Age: A sun rash often develops in women between ages 20 and 40.
  • Altitude: People who live at a high altitude above sea level are also at an increased risk of developing a sun rash.
  • Lighter skin: Individuals with lighter skin develop a sun rash more often than people with darker skin color.
  • Gender: Females are 2–3 times more likely to develop a sun rash than males.
  • Family history: A close blood relative with polymorphous light eruption appears to increase the risk. There is a family history association in about 50% of the people with the condition.

A sunburn and sun rash are both the result of exposure to the sun. However, symptoms and causes may differ. Sunburn occurs due to UV exposure that damages the skin’s outermost layer.

In contrast, a sun rash is a reaction by a person’s immune system to:

  • the sun
  • oral or topical medication
  • a chemical or plant

It can also result from a metabolic or genetic disorder.

People with lighter skin can detect sunburn more easily. Their skin may appear red and inflamed. In darker skin, however, it is harder to notice the subtle changes to the skin. The sunburn may feel tender to warm to touch.

Find out more about sunburn on darker skin.

Sunburn may cause the skin to peel as the burn heals, but this is less common with a sun rash.

The best way to prevent a sun rash is through suitable sun protection. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, correct sun protection may help decrease the spread of a sun rash.

Consider the following steps to protect the skin:

  • using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50
  • applying sunscreen every 2 hours to areas of uncovered skin
  • wearing sun protective clothing to block UV rays
  • avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays from the sun are most intense

A person can also take low dose oral steroids before exposure to the sun, experts suggest.

Another option to prevent rashes is phototherapy.

Phototherapy is a type of desensitization involving repeated exposures to sunlight. The repeated exposures help reduce the overreaction by the immune system to the sunlight, which may prevent future sun rashes.

In most cases, a sun rash does not require professional medical care. However, it is helpful to see a doctor in the following instances:

  • Severe hives or a rash develop.
  • The rash is very painful.
  • Signs of a skin infection develop, such as warmth to the touch, pain, and fever.
  • Swelling develops in the:
    • face
    • tongue
    • throat
  • A person has difficulty breathing.

Polymorphic light eruption is a type of sun rash that occurs due to sun exposure. Research suggests hypersensitivity to the sun is the main possible cause.

The goal of treatment is to decrease discomfort and protect the skin from further damage. In most cases, a sun rash is not serious and does not cause complications.

To prevent a sun rash, a person should protect skin by:

  • using SPF 50 sunscreen
  • wearing protective clothing
  • applying sunscreen 2 hours prior to sun exposure
  • avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Fire case: skin care after sunburn – Seasonal care – Summer – Blog

Finally getting to the beach, swimming enough, soaking up the sun for an hour or two, and in the evening to find that the skin is treacherously reddened and itchy – such a pain (literally and figuratively)! And even with all the necessary precautions, no one is immune from this trouble.

Today we will not repeat the mantra about the importance of using products with SPF (we are sure you have learned this rule by heart with us), but we will talk about what to do if you are still burned in the sun.

The first step is to determine the severity of the damage. Most often, sunburns are first-degree burns and are characterized by a pink-red skin tone and increased sensitivity. They may also be accompanied by a slight increase in body temperature. As a rule, in this case, home care is sufficient.

However, there are a number of symptoms that should promptly seek medical attention. These include:

These symptoms may indicate the presence of a second degree burn or heat stroke, and resorting to self-medication in such cases is extremely dangerous. The doctor will prescribe the necessary measures of care and drug therapy that will protect you from possible complications.

If the damage is moderate and there is no need to seek professional help, you can begin to relieve symptoms.

Cool down your skin with a cool shower or bath. Do not use shower gel or soap – they can cause irritation on damaged skin. If there is no opportunity to swim, you can get by with a cold compress – moisten a soft, smooth cloth (for example, a cotton T-shirt or flannel diaper) with cold water and cover the damaged areas of the skin with it. You should not use a terry towel for these purposes – its “rough” texture can scratch sensitive burnt skin.

Restore the balance of moisture in the body. Drink plenty of clean water to stay hydrated.

Get out of the sun. Avoid any contact of damaged areas with sunlight – even through windows. Wear closed, but loose and light clothing made from natural fabrics (linen, cotton) to ensure adequate ventilation and protect your skin from the sun.

Use skin repair products. In the composition, pay attention to panthenol (vitamin B5), vitamin E, allantoin, bisabolol, aloe vera, centella asiatica, shea butter and sweet almond – these components are known for their restorative and soothing properties.

Don’t forget to moisturize. The skin after a sunburn often begins to peel off or peel off in large patches, and this happens due to a lack of moisture. Do not attempt to remove the dead skin layer mechanically, instead use a moisturizing lotion or cream with thermal water, glycerin or hyaluronic acid.

Do not look for “healing potion” in the kitchen. In the piggy bank of “folk recipes” you can find advice to apply fermented milk products, vegetable oil to the burn site, make compresses from vinegar or vodka – and the harm from such manipulations is more than good. Also, do not wipe damaged skin with ice or alcohol-based products.

Panthenol Forte (Panthenol 9%) cream, 30 ml

Moisturizes, softens and regenerates

402 ₽
423 ₽

Receipt expected

Cream Librederm Panthenol Forte contains panthenol in a high concentration (9%) and is therefore suitable for skin care even with fairly severe burns. It not only promotes rapid regeneration of damaged cells and greatly relieves pain – natural sweet almond oil, aloe vera extract and squalene also deeply moisturize and protect the skin.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Multifunctional Revitalizing Balm is an indispensable tool in the home first aid kit, and in case of sunburn, it will come in handy. Panthenol also performs the main restoring function here (in this product it is used at a concentration of 5%), and madecassoside (a molecule obtained from centella extract), shea butter and an antibacterial complex copper + zinc + manganese act as auxiliary components.

Anti-burn balm for face and body, 100 ml

Restores the skin, eliminates burning and pain

1760 ₽
2199 ₽



Vichy Capital Ideal Soleil Anti-Burn Balm is designed specifically for the care of skin affected by sun exposure. Its nourishing formula with Shea Butter, Soy Butter, Vitamin E and Thermal Water has an immediate softening and soothing effect, and after 24 hours significantly relieves burn symptoms. For maximum effect, the product is recommended to be applied every 2-3 hours.

Immediate Soothing After Sun Foam, 150 ml

Soothes, moisturizes and restores

6358 ₽



Inspira Cosmetics Soothing After Sun Foam is ideal when every touch on the body causes a burning sensation and discomfort. Its delicate, airy texture spreads easily without the need to rub the product into the skin. The foam is instantly absorbed, providing a soothing effect and leaving a pleasant feeling of coolness. Ingredients: panthenol, extracts of pumpkin and aloe vera, sea water and ectoine – a high-tech natural component that restores the protective shell of cells.

Soothing cream 40 ml

Suitable for face, body, skin folds, external mucous membranes

729 ₽
911 ₽



SVR Cicavit+ Soothing Cream is a powerful SOS remedy that significantly (up to 7 times) accelerates regeneration processes and reliably protects the skin. Its unusual texture deserves special attention: upon application, the cream turns into a light gel, immediately providing a feeling of comfort and creating an invisible “bandage” on the surface of the skin that protects damaged areas from irritation, for example, when rubbing with clothes.

Cream 40 ml


815 ₽
958 ₽



Cream Bioderma Cicabio takes care of damaged skin at all stages of its recovery. The patented Antalgicine® complex instantly reduces pain and itching. Resveratrol, copper sulphate and centella asiatica extract have an analgesic effect during the initial phase of regeneration. Oxides A combo of hyaluronic acid and glycerin provides deep hydration. The cream is quickly absorbed, forming a light, breathable protective film on the surface of the skin.

Recovery Stick for Face & Body 0+, 8 g

Quickly soothes and heals. Reduces discomfort after the first application

505 ₽
653 ₽



The A-Derma Dermalibour+ line promotes fast, painless skin repair and is suitable for the whole family – even the youngest members. The revitalizing cream is easy to apply on large areas, while the healing stick is useful for use on small areas that require intensive care. Both products work through a combination of oat sprout extract (soothes and relieves irritation), zinc oxide (protects the skin), zinc sulfate and copper sulfate (have an antibacterial effect). These same active ingredients can also be found in Dermalibour+ Cleansing Gel, which gently cleanses sunburned skin without aggravating symptoms, unlike conventional shower gel.

Aloe Vera 99% Moisturizing & Multifunctional Gel, 250 ml

Uniquely moisturizes and soothes the skin

640 ₽
762 ₽



Multifunctional gel Holika Holika Aloe Vera 99% will cope with light sunburn – when the skin is noticeably rosy, but not “burning”. Thanks to its light, quickly absorbed texture, it perfectly refreshes the skin, instantly relieving itching and burning. In addition to pure aloe gel, famous for its soothing and healing properties, the composition of the product includes several more healing plant extracts.

Centella Soothing Cream-Gel, 110 g

Repairs damaged, problematic and sensitive skin

1943 ₽



Dr. Ceuracle Cica Regen 95 Soothing Gel is another pleasant and comfortable to use skin repair product for mild burns, which is suitable for facial skin care. Its main active ingredient is Centella Asiatica extract, which perfectly heals and relieves irritation. The gel pleasantly cools the skin, while the cooling effect lasts for a long time.

Bepanthen moisturizing body lotion is suitable for everyday restorative body care, when the main symptoms of a burn have already been removed. It will help to eliminate the negative effects of excessive contact with the sun, restoring the skin smoothness, softness and well-groomed appearance. Physiological lipids (ceramides, lecithin) and provitamin B5 in its composition contribute to the regeneration of the natural protective barrier of the skin and restore the water-lipid balance.

The author of the article is Marina Kanukhina.

Help with sunburn: care for damaged skin

Author of the article

Razheva Valentina

member of the Union of Pediatricians of Russia

First aid for sunburn of any degree

Last update: 11/20/2022

Sunburn occurs when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation for a long time. We cannot say how long it takes to spend on the beach for a sunburn to appear: this, like the rate of sunbathing, directly depends on genetics. The lighter the skin, the more careful you need to be with the sun’s rays. Children are often prone to sunburn.

Degree of skin damage caused by sun exposure

Most sunburns do not exceed the first or second degree of severity. The first symptoms are dry, tight skin that you constantly want to moisten or smear with a moisturizer. The skin is very red and sore to the touch. Over time, it starts to peel off. When the first signs of tightness and redness appear, the beach should be left immediately.

With a long exposure to the sun and a stronger penetration of ultraviolet rays under the skin, blisters may appear. At the same time, body temperature rises.

The peak of symptoms begins 12-24 hours after returning from the beach. After a day, it becomes clear what degree of severity of the burn we are dealing with. In any case, in the very first hours after returning, it is necessary to take necessary measures to help and slow down the development of a burn, whether it is mild or severe.

Redness and blisters – not always sunburn

Sometimes similar symptoms do not indicate a sunburn, but a disease of the skin or internal organs. In case of metabolic disorders, porphyrins accumulate in the epidermis – substances that are powerful photosensitizers and increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.

If you experience the symptoms described above after a short exposure to the sun, or if you observe a violation of the body’s functioning, consult a therapist or dermatologist.

However, most often we are talking about a sunburn. And then you need to take first aid.

Sunburn: first aid on the spot

If you lie in the sun for a long time, then it is very difficult to notice the onset of symptoms: the body is motionless and there are no unpleasant sensations. To control your condition, roll over more often and walk on the sand – then you will immediately notice the appearance of pain and dryness.

When the symptoms are detected, the first thing to do is to go into the room. Do not hide under an awning (under which dry air accumulates anyway), but find a building that is cool and pleasant. It can be a bar or a shop, which is on every well-maintained beach.

If there are no buildings nearby, cover yourself with clothing that provides maximum protection from ultraviolet radiation. Ideally, this will be a cotton loose dress or shirt soaked in cold water.

Homecoming Help

  • First, take a cold shower. It will relieve irritation, soothe the skin, lower body temperature and stop the development of a burn. Remember that a cold shower is a shower with water at room temperature (about 20 degrees).
  • Also avoid strong jets, which can also cause physical damage to weak, damaged skin.
  • If the painful sensations do not recede, and a burning sensation has also been added to them, then you should take up medications. “Paracetomol”, “Ibuprofen” will help relieve pain in the damaged area.
  • The next step is to moisturize the skin. Under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, severe dehydration occurs: hence the terrible dryness and peeling. To get rid of these symptoms, you need to provide the damaged area of ​​the skin with a shock dose of moisture. Moisturizing creams with vitamin E, chamomile extract and aloe juice, panthenol will help you with this. They hold moisture where it’s needed most. You can apply these creams or compresses as needed. The more often, the better.

What should not be used for sunburn?

Alcohol-containing lotions and other products are prohibited for sunburn. They irritate the skin and draw moisture out of it. The use of dairy products is also not recommended.

Treatment of sunburn on the face

For the face, all of the above methods of recovery after a burn are relevant. However, the skin on the head is more delicate and sensitive than on the back and shoulders. It will take much longer to take care of it: this will help to avoid noticeable peeling and premature wrinkles.

Make regular nourishing masks according to your skin type and use alcohol-free moisturizers.

For intensive softening, we recommend using La Cree Anti-Itching and Redness Cream. It is designed for very sensitive skin and is made from safe tonic substances: burdock extract, avocado oil and panthenol.

Remember about sunscreen, it is necessary to apply them before going out and after swimming in the sea. It is also not recommended to stay in the sun between 11 am and 4 pm.

Clinical studies

A clinical study conducted by the company together with the Union of Pediatricians of Russia proves the high efficiency, safety and tolerability of La Cree products for daily skin care of a child with mild and moderate atopic dermatitis and during remission, accompanied by a decrease in the quality of life of patients. As a result of therapy, a decrease in the activity of the inflammatory process, a decrease in dryness, itching and flaking were noted.

It is proved that La Cree cream for sensitive skin:

  • reduces itching and irritation;
  • relieves skin redness;
  • moisturizes and cares for the skin.

The tool is recommended by the Union of Pediatricians of Russia.


  1. N.M. Sharova, Approaches to the treatment and prevention of diaper dermatitis, Journal Medical Council, 2018
  2. Marushko Yu.V., Prevention and treatment of diaper dermatitis in children, Clinical Lectures
  3. Kamasheva G.R., Khakimova R.F. Valiullina S.A., Methods for assessing the severity of atopic dermatitis in young children, journal Dermatology, 2010
  4. Kovyazina N.A., Fedosimova N.A., Illek Ya. Yu. Diagnosis of atopic dermatitis in young children, Vyatka Medical Bulletin, 2007

Photographs of burns

First degree burns of the hand

4th degree leg burn

Thermal burn with steam 1st degree

Body burn 4th degree, photo

Irritated skin after sunburn

Body burn 3rd degree

Risk of sunburn

Body burn 3rd degree

2nd degree hand burn

Slight burn of the hand with boiling water

2nd degree burn, photo

Second degree hand burn

Second degree burn – photography

Burn of the skin of the hand 1st degree

Burn of the hand 1st degree, photo

Light thermal skin burn

Photo album on the disease

See also

Sunburns on the legs

Hot oil burns refer to thermal damage to body tissues caused by high temperature exposure to the surface of the skin.