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The Best Way to Treat a Sunburn

As discussed in an earlier blog, do your best to protect yourself from the sun. However, we all get careless and forgetful when having fun in the sun. When we forget to reapply sunscreen, it’s possible and likely to get a sunburn. A sunburn is the result of your skin getting too much exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays — especially the dangerous UVB rays from the sun. The bright red color from the sunburn will fade, but a sunburn causes lasting damage that’s impossible to “get rid” of. Repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun’s rays increases your risk of skin cancer, and also premature aging. 

Since sunburns happen, here’s how to treat it if you get one.

Take a cool bath or shower

First get in out of the sun as soon as possible. Once inside take a cool shower or bath. The cool water may help relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. 


It’s important to keep your body hydrated. You need to hydrate the skin to help repair the skin barrier as quickly as possible. Start by applying pure aloe vera gel — it can be out of a bottle or straight from the plant. Aloe vera contains cooling and soothing properties. It can also potentially promote wound healing. Hydrating from the inside-out can help treat a sunburn as well.  A sunburn pulls fluids to the skin and away from the rest of the body. You need to drink plenty of water to take care of your skin and your entire body.

Decrease pain/swelling

You can also treat a sunburn by reducing inflammation. You can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pill (like Advil). It can help reduce swelling and redness, plus help you deal with any pain.

Ice pack/compress

Place ice in a washcloth and place it directly on your skin. You can also soak a washcloth in cold water or milk and place it on your burn. Milk has vitamins and antioxidants that can help your skin heal.

Don’t pop blisters

By not popping the blisters, you will help the burn heal more quickly. It will also lower your risk of getting any infections. If you get severe and widespread blisters you should seek medical attention. 

Protect against more damage

When you need to go outside again, make sure you wear clothing that covers your skin and try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen as well.

Comprehensive Primary Care at MD365®

If you need fast, friendly, affordable comprehensive primary or urgent care, MD365® is here to help. With MD365®, there’s no need to schedule an appointment ahead of time. Our mission is to make stellar patient care accessible to all, which is why we accept most insurance plans and always encourage walk-ins. Visit our website to schedule a televisit or find an MD365® clinic near you!



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