The Dos and Don’ts of Sunburn Treatment

With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, Tucson is a prime spot for sun damage that can prematurely age the skin and lead to skin cancer. In the short-term sun exposure, can lead to painful burns that might require some specialized care at home. Moderate to severe sunburns can be highly irritating, so you will want to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to relief. Here’s a closer look at some of the basics of sunburn treatment to help you repair your skin. Do moisturize and soothe skin Aloe vera is a great natural remedy for the skin, and it can be applied liberally to cool the skin and offer added moisture. In addition to aloe, you might use an antibacterial ointment, topical anesthetic, or homemade remedies such as an oatmeal bath or tea bags. Be sure to steer clear of soap when you are bathing, and keep the shower water cool or warm to minimize further irritation. Do not scratch or peel your skin As your sunburn heals, the skin might begin to peel, but you should treat peeling skin like a scab and leave it alone. Peeling the skin or scratching a sunburn can actually slow down the healing process and raise the risk for infection. Taking an antihistamine can relieve itching and help to reduce irritation. Do apply cold compresses An ice pack or cool, wet towel can relieve inflammation and reduce pain, but you should avoid icing the area for periods longer than 20 minutes. You should never apply ice or ice packs directly to skin; use a towel to wrap the cold compress and avoid over-cooling the skin. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may also be helpful in managing pain caused by sunburns. If you have a severe sunburn with blistering or a sunburn that does not heal after a few days of at-home care, you might seek clinical care with Specialists in Dermatology at one of our Tucson-area offices. You can reach us for an appointment on our website or at (520) 382-3330.