ZocdocAnswersHow should I treat my sunburn?

Question

How should I treat my sunburn?

I was out in the sun all day recently and got a bad sunburn on my face, shoulders and arms. I put aloe on the burn, but it is still very painful. What else can I do to treat the burn?

Answer

Sunburn is a radiation burn of your skin. Once the damage is done, there is no fast-fix burn treatment. But I can suggest these sunburn treatments to help ease your discomfort. Applying vera aloe to your burn as you have already done is effective in helping the burn heal faster. Another cool moisturizer I would recommend is chilled Eucerin Calming Cream. It is good idea to take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprophen (Advil, Motrin, naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin early according to manufacture's instructions. These medications help block the release of interleukins, the skin's sunburn cytokine, and therefore reduce the amount of redness and pain. It is good idea to avoid hot showers. Hot showers can be irritating for a sunburn. I recommend that you take a luke warm bath with Aveeno Collodial Oatmeal. Oatmeal is known to have soothing effect to the skin. You should avoid numbing sprays containing anesthetics. One such example is benzocaine, which is known to cause allergic contact dermatitis. Most importantly, I would recommend that you consult a dermatologist for treatment if you have severe sunburn covering a large portion of your body with blisters, a severe sunburn that does not begin to improve within a few days, or a severe sunburn accompanied high fever and a lot of pain. Best of luck.

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