What Are The Best Treatments For Sunburn?

Dear Dr. Manny, 

I have very fair skin and I tend to burn within a few minutes of being out in the sun. Sunburns are very painful! How do I treat sunburn? What can I do to minimize the harm of sunburn? I don’t want to get skin cancer!

As soon as you notice that your skin has burned, you should begin treating the burn right away, even before the discomfort begins. Get out of the sun the minute you start burning and head indoors. 

Take frequent cold baths and showers while your sunburn is healing. This will help alleviate the pain. Once you are out of the shower, don’t vigorously dry yourself, but use a moisturizer to trap the water and keep your skin soft. 

Make sure the moisturizer you use has aloe vera or soy, because these are natural supplements that are meant to heal burns. Hydrocortisone cream is useful if you have particularly painful patches of burned skin. 

If your skin still really hurts, take ibuprofen or aspirin to help you cope with the pain. Drink extra water, because sunburns draw water away from your insides and to your skin. 

Some harsher sunburns cause blisters. Avoid popping the blisters, because blisters help your body prevent infection. Let your blisters heal. 

Cover your skin when you head outdoors. In fact, if you keep burning, you should cover up outside anyway. Check the knit of the fabric to make sure light doesn’t peep through. 

Check with a dermatologist to make sure your skin doesn’t have any lasting, long-term effects from sunburn.