5 Tips to Help Heal Your Sunburn

Your skin can burn if it gets too much sun without proper protection from either sunscreen (Dr. Carniol recommends SPF 40 and above) or clothes.

To help heal and soothe burned skin, it is important to begin treating sunburn as soon as you notice it.

Once out of the sun, these tips from Dr. Carniol can help relieve the discomfort:

  1. Drink extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Plus, you may have spent too much time outside. Drinking extra water to help prevent dehydration.
  2. Moisturize. It’s important to “lock in” any moisture in your skin. Use a gentle moisturizer that contains aloe vera to help soothe sunburned skin. When your skin feels dry, reapply!
  3. Do NOT use anti-itch or numbing creams. Anti-itch and numbing creams have anesthesia medications that are not made for open wounds like your sunburn – and, it’s easy to reach toxic levels very fast. A good rule of thumb is to avoid treating sunburns with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine), as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
  4. Don’t pick your skin! Blisters and peeling are signs of your body trying to heal. Picking or popping can lead to bad skin infections. Also, no exfoliating. When in doubt, apply more moisturizer!
  5. Protect your skin. Sunburned skin can take up to 6 weeks to fully recover. Be sure to wear clothing that will not rub, but will cover up the burned area everyday. Upgrade from SPF to UPF.

Although it may seem temporary, a sunburn—a result of skin receiving too much exposure from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays—can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. This damage increases a person’s risk for getting skin cancer, meaning that protecting your skin from the sun.

For questions about your sunburn or to learn how to better protect your skin from the sun, call Dr. Carniol at (908) 598-1400, or see a board-certified dermatologist.

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