Did you get a sunburn this weekend? Many people did. Aside from preventing more sunburns in the future, here are some simple steps you can take to make your sunburn better:
1. Avoid getting more sun. This is important – more sun exposure can make the sunburn worse and increase your chances of permanent skin damage. This can cause wrinkle and skin caner down the road. Avoid the sun by staying in the shade, under an umbrella or indoors. Also, make sure to apply SPF 50 sunscreen if you need to be outside.
2. Cool the skin – this can be done by taking a cool shower or bath or placing an icepack on the most sunburned area.
3. Apply moisturizer – the most common product sold for sunburns is aloe. Aloe is great for sunburns, but so is vaseline ointment, aquaphor or another greasy moisturizer. Do not apply an antibiotic, since most sunburns do not get infected.
4. Do not peel the skin off – the skin, even if it has been damaged, acts as a dressing – a bandage of sorts. Therefore, peeling the skin is the worst thing you could do. It exposes the skin underneath that may not be ready for it. This may increase the risk of infection and scarring.
5. See your dermatologist – if you have a really severe sunburn, your dermatologist may prescribe a topical or oral treatment with steroids. This will help skin’s inflammation to calm down. Once the sunburn resolves, see your dermatologist to make sure none of your moles/spots changed or became cancerous.
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Reviewed by Dr. Goldenberg