Summer Sunburn Season

woman walking on sunlit street

Summertime is still here! There is still time for fun in the sun! And, unfortunately sometimes sunburn. Even with the best intentions sometimes we fail – either we don’t put enough sunscreen on, don’t reapply like we should, or we miss areas. 

Once you get sunburned, here are some simple recommendations to help you through it:

• First thing to do is get out of the sun!  When you notice skin is turning pink or red it is best to immediately get out of the sun and try to treat the sunburn as soon as possible.

• Cooling down the skin with cold compresses or cool baths can be helpful to reduce the heat – remember that ice should never be used directly on the skin.

• Cool showers or baths can help, and make sure your shower or bath is not too long and that the soap you are using is mild plus moisturizing, and applied ONLY with your hands.

• Apply a bland moisturizer to the affected areas and best to apply it to damp skin right when you get out of the bath or shower – this traps the water in and helps fight the dryness and lessens the peeling that may follow.  Do not use Vaseline type products as they will trap the heat and make your sunburn feel worse.

• Reduce the inflammation by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin at the recommended doses and intervals until the redness, swelling and discomfort improves.  Over the counter hydrocortisone cream can also safely be used for a few days to combat redness and swelling.

• Stay hydrated and make sure you keep up with your fluid intake. Extra fluids help as burns will draw fluids to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body which leaves you at risk for dehydration.  Start drinking immediately and continue while your skin is healing.

• If blisters form, it is recommended that you do not try to break them to minimize the risk of infection.  They are the skin’s own contained bandages and are better left alone.

Most of the time sunburn can be managed by the person and does not require medical attention.  There are some instances where you may need to seek medical care though.

If you have a very large area that blisters, or you have a headache, or fever, or chills, or your blisters become woozy it could be a sign of infection.  Then you should seek medical help.

Please contact myself, Amy Hahn, PA-C or our team of dermatology experts at our Fort Washington, PA or Lansdale, PA office by calling 215-361-3376, press option 1.  We are here to help you with your skin issues.

Bottom line – sunburn is bad for the skin, so please use sunscreen and be careful while having fun in the sun! 

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