What to do with sunburn?

How to protect yourself from the sun

In summer, the risk of developing sunburn increases due to increased exposure to the sun. Dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang of the Cleveland Clinic in the United States explains how to react after suffering a sunburn.

Sunburn needs to be cooled

If you have ever suffered a sunburn, it is first important to reduce the temperature of the skin. “Get out of the sun immediately and refresh your skin. Take a cool bath or shower to bring down your skin temperature,” the expert advises in a statement. This will help reduce existing inflammation.

However, you should only bathe or shower for short periods of time because staying in water for too long dries out your skin. If the sunburn only affects a small area, according to Dr. Piliang cold compresses such as a damp towel or washcloth can be used for cooling.

keep the skin moist

While the skin is still damp, a moisturizing cream or lotion should be applied to lock in moisture. Moisturizer should be applied frequently, especially in the first few days after sunburn, to prevent dehydration, reports Dr. Piliang.

It should be noted that the skin is hydrated only when it has already cooled down. Otherwise, heat will be trapped, causing further pain and inflammation.

relieve itching

If one suffers from itchy skin, a thin layer of 1% hydrocortisone cream should be applied to the sunburned area. To relieve pain or burning, you can apply aloe vera gel, which cools and immediately relieves sunburn, explains the dermatologist.

reduce pain

Cool compresses can be used to relieve burning and pain. It is also possible to take painkillers if the pain is intense. "You can take something to reduce inflammation, like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin," says Dr. Piliang.

Avoid ointments containing irritating ingredients

Ointments and petroleum jelly should not be used on sunburns as they trap heat. Another expert tip is that topical treatments with drugs ending in -caine, such as benzocaine and lidocaine, can cause allergic reactions and increase inflammation.

In addition, creams containing alcohol should not be used, as this dries out the skin and makes healing more difficult, explains the dermatologist.

Make sure you drink enough fluids

When you get sunburned, your skin draws in fluid from other parts of your body, which can dry it out quickly. If there is a sunburn, drinking fluids will help.

“It's really important that you stay hydrated. To drink a lot of water. Sports drinks that replenish electrolytes can also help,” advises Dr. Piliang.

Do not touch the blisters on the skin

If the sunburn causes blisters to form on the skin, it is advisable not to touch it. “To avoid infection and scarring, you have to let the blisters heal on their own,” explains the expert.

In severe cases, see a doctor

Sometimes home remedies aren't enough if you've suffered a particularly severe sunburn. In such a case, it makes sense to seek medical help. "Call your doctor if you have large blisters, severe pain, or fever, chills, dizziness, or confusion," advises Dr. Piliang.

How to prevent sunburn

Various preventive measures can protect against the development of sunburn. For example, it helps to stay in the shade if you don't have adequate sun protection.

The hat protects against sunburn

Wearing a hat can also provide shade and protect against sunburn. The face, ears and neck can be protected from the sun by ensuring that the hat is made of a tightly woven fabric and has a brim two to three centimeters wide.

Protective clothing prevents sunburn

When out in the sun, loose, long-sleeved shirts and long pants should be worn. The same is true here: the more densely woven the fabric, the more protection it offers.

Always use sunscreen

Finally, the dermatologist has another tip that goes without saying: apply sunscreen. It is important to ensure that enough cream is applied. The expert advises covering the body with about 28 grams of sunscreen, or about the amount of a shot glass.

Always refresh your sunscreen

Note that sun protection is reapplied throughout the day. “You need to reapply your sunscreen about every 90 minutes. If you have been in the water, come out of the water and have dried off, you must reapply lotion because you have washed off a lot of it by the time you come out of the water,” adds the expert. (as)