Local News

Soothing Relief For Mild Sunburn Pain

Posted July 7, 2003 3:08 a.m. EDT

— For many people, sunburn is just part of summer, but just one sunburn can damage skin and increase a person's risk of skin cancer.

"It's an SOS of the skin. The skin is responding to the sun by making darker skin cells," said Dr. Sarah Myers, a Duke dermatologist.

Even mild sunburns can be painful. For those suffering a sunburn following the holiday weekend, follow these helpful tips for soothing the pain and discomfort:

  • Apply cool compresses.
  • Apply a 1 percent hydrocordisone cream, available at any pharmacy.
  • Take an aspirin. Aspirin blocks a substance called prostoglandins and helps heal sunburn injuries.
  • Severe sunburns sometime require immediate medical treatment. If you develop a fever, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light or severe pain, call your doctor right away.

    Although most people do not realize it, doctors can prescribe a corticosteroid cream which soothes the skin and speeds up the healing process.

    Sometimes with severe sunburns, blisters can burst and become infected. If that happens, contact a doctor immediately.

    It is best to avoid sunburns altogether. Sunblock and shade go a long way in keeping you from feeling the burn.