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Sunburn is an inflammatory response of the skin to direct ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, resulting in redness and pain. Sunburn may be caused by any intense UV ray exposure, including extended exposure to the sun while swimming or sweating excessively. It also increases one’s risk of other varieties of cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma; this occurs due to DNA damage in these cells. Skin doctors treat sunburn based on severity. Let’s know more about skin burn.
What causes sunburn?
There are several causes of sunburn, including the following:
- The leading cause is direct UV ray exposure resulting in genetic mutations and loss of standard cellular control mechanisms;
- UV light induces thymine dimers within the DNA of cells exposed to high doses, which leads to cell death and inhibition of essential metabolic pathways;
- A lack of melanin (which provides photoprotection) and increased blood flow to the skin can result in greater susceptibility;
- Specific dietary deficiencies—namely a lack of vitamin D, which increases susceptibility—can increase one’s risk as well.
What are the types of sunburn?
Sunburn is of three types.
- First-degree burns affect only the epidermis and are sometimes called superficial burns. They produce redness without blisters, pain, or swelling.
- Second-degree burns cause blistering of the skin, which causes moderate pain and swelling. This degree of burn is also known as a partial-thickness injury because the dermis has been damaged. It results from prolonged UV exposure causing localized damage to basal cells in the epidermis, sublayers of connective tissue, or both layers. This exposure compromises the blood vessels, so fluid leaks into surrounding tissues resulting in swelling, tenderness, and erythema (redness). If not promptly, second-degree sunburns may cause permanent skin changes such as freckles and loss of pigmentation.
- Third-degree burns involve the entire epidermis and dermis, destroying the skin appendages and blistering. This burn is also referred to as a full-thickness injury because it affects both the epidermis and dermis. Therefore all layers of the skin are affected. It results from prolonged exposure to UV rays (UVA & UVB) which can cause damage to any structure within those layers, including new capillaries (causing bleeding). As such, this type of sunburn must be wrapped with dry dressings or not dressed at all for new tissue growth to occur over the wound bed; otherwise, scarring will result.
What are the signs and symptoms of sunburn?
The signs and symptoms of sunburn include the following:
- Erythema (redness)
- Edema (swelling)
- Fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, or malaise (all associated with systemic toxicity from a severe burn).
Systemic toxicity may result from large areas of epidermis being destroyed at once over a short period due to third-degree burns resulting in fluid loss leading to electrolyte imbalance and possibly cardiovascular shock if not treated promptly by medical professionals.
What do to when you get sunburn?
According to skin doctors, first-degree burns do not usually need medical attention. People should be aware that even mild sunburns can turn into second- or third-degree burns if they are exposed to the sun again before the skin has fully healed, so precautions should be taken to avoid further exposure.
People with sunburn are advised to follow these steps:
- Take cool baths or shower: Many sunburns can be cooled with tap water and aloe vera gel. Be careful to avoid chills or overheating because either one may cause heatstroke to stress the affected skin further. Avoid hot tubs and saunas, which could lead to dehydration and worsen toxic symptoms.
- Apply a moisturizing lotion: Skin doctors suggest using an antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin for first-degree burns; those with second-degree burns should use mupirocin ointment (Bactroban) or polymyxin B sulfate (Polysporin). Many popular moisturizers contain sunscreen and may help protect the skin from UVA rays if applied frequently throughout the day; however, most experts recommend that people use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 on areas of sunburn.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen, if needed to manage pain. People who have discomfort from severe burns may be prescribed potent opioids such as hydrocodone or oxycodone by medical professionals if they cannot take other medications because of vomiting or sensitivity to the drug itself.
- Protect against infection: Those burned must wash their hands before touching blisters and keep the concerned area from being contaminated with soil and bacteria from outside sources until after consultation with skin doctors. If the blister is open, medical professionals should be contacted immediately.
- Apply sunscreen to the burned areas as soon as possible: Although it is essential for all sun-exposed areas, including those affected by the burn to apply an SPF 30 sunscreen as soon as possible after going out in the sun, skin doctors suggest that those with sunburns cover up and avoid direct sunlight until they have recovered fully. People should reapply their sunscreen throughout the day if outdoors during periods of peak UV radiation, which usually occurs between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Drink more water: Dehydration from fever, vomiting, and systemic toxicity can worsen sunburn symptoms. Anyone who has been exposed to the sun for a prolonged period should increase their fluid intake by drinking water and avoiding alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks such as coffee.
- Consider taking over-the-counter painkillers: Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium (Aleve), and other anti-inflammatory medications may be used for sunburn, depending on medical history. Anyone with cardiac disease or gastritis should avoid using these painkillers because they can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding; breastfeeding or pregnant should consult their doctors before taking any medication.
- Avoid the sun until you have entirely recovered: Although it is essential to be aware that even mild sunburns can turn into second- or third-degree burns if they are exposed to the sun again before the skin has fully healed, people with sunburns should return to their normal activities gradually as soon as possible so long as their doctors have given them clearance to do so.
How to prevent sunburns, according to the skin doctor?
- Slip on protective clothing: Regardless of the season, long-sleeved shirts made from tightly woven fabric and brimmed hats provide sunburn protection. Sunglasses offering UV protection can also help prevent skin damage.
- Use sunscreen to shield your skin: Sunscreen is an effective way to reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which causes cells in your body to produce more melanin that leads to tanning; this will cause the skin’s surface temperature to rise and could lead to heatstroke or heat exhaustion if too much exposure occurs over a short period. It is essential for people with sunburns to avoid direct sunlight until they have recovered fully because even small amounts of exposure can worsen symptoms.
- Keep your skin cool: Cool showers and baths will help reduce the surface temperature of sunburned skin and lower blood flow to the area so it can heal faster. However, medical experts do not recommend pouring water directly on burn wounds because this may cause scarring or lead to infections such as bacterial cellulitis.
- Drink plenty of fluids:Dehydration from fever, vomiting, and systemic toxicity can worsen symptoms of sunburns, making people feel dizzy and lightheaded, which could potentially lead to heatstroke if these symptoms are ignored; those who have been exposed to the sun for a prolonged period should increase their fluid intake by drinking water and avoiding alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks such as coffee.
- Don’t move out in the sun: Sunburned skin is sensitive to the sun’s heat, so it would be advisable not to expose yourself outside during periods of peak UV radiation which usually occurs between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Approximately how long does it take for sunburns to heal?
It takes approximately 2-3 days for sunburns to recover on their own. However, some people may require more time depending on the severity of their symptoms; most cases tend to subside within 5-7 days, but recovery can last anywhere from 2 weeks up to several months (for third-degree burns). Anyone with severe symptoms must see their doctor immediately because they could be signs of something more serious such as an infection or other health condition.
When to visit a skin doctor for sunburn?
You can treat your sunburn at home if it is a first-degree burn and if the symptoms are not severe. If it is a second-degree burn, you can get help from your local doctor or take an emergency trip to the nearest hospital. A specialist dermatologist should see a third-degree sunburn immediately because it can lead to serious health complications such as excessive scarring and permanent skin discoloration; these complications may require surgery and unique treatments.
How does a skin doctor treat sunburns?
The main goal of treating someone who has experienced this condition is to reduce pain, swelling, inflammation and promote healing; any blisters that appear should never be broken as this could introduce infections and complications to the burn wound. Skin doctors usually recommend:
- Topical Ointments: Topical analgesics are excellent short-term solutions to sunburn pain because they are designed to reduce heat, redness, and swelling in the affected area. Some products will contain aloe, which is known for its skin-soothing properties, along with other ingredients that may include lidocaine or benzocaine, among others; these can temporarily numb the skin so people can get a good night’s rest without being kept awake by the pain.
- Topical Creams: Medical experts advise against using topical steroids on sunburns as it may suppress cell production of melanin and lead to a greater risk of phototoxicity, which is a severe complication associated with applying topical corticosteroids for this condition.
- Oral Medications: People who have difficulty sleeping because of the pain associated with sunburns should consult their doctor and request a prescription for oral medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which will help them feel better and get some much-needed sleep; oatmeal baths are also helpful when it comes to reducing inflammation.
- Cold Compresses: These can be used to reduce symptoms of heat, irritation, itching, and redness by applying a cold compress on the affected area whenever possible.
- Antibiotics: Some sunburns may come with a bacterial infection, and for this reason, doctors will prescribe an antibiotic treatment to help prevent the infection from getting worse.
These are the options that a doctor who specializes in skin conditions may recommend to someone who has experienced sunburn; however, people need to keep in mind that these remedies will only provide temporary and partial relief and that this condition should heal on its own without any medical intervention or complications. The treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the severity of the symptoms besides just the intensity of the burn itself. With that being said, below, we’ve listed some methods that can help support healing and minimize discomfort. You can also consider homeopathic treatment for sunburn.
Homeopathic treatment for sunburn:
Homeopathic treatment for sunburn is very effective and soothing. You can use homeopathic remedies for sunburn treatment to relieve symptoms like inflammation, pain, blistering, and discomfort. Homeopathy is known for its natural healing process without causing any harmful side effects on your skin.
Homeopathic Remedies for Sunburn:
- Rhus tox 30C/ 200C: This is an excellent remedy for sunburns when you have too many blisters on your skin, with a burning sensation that gets worse when applying water or even during wind exposure.
- Urtica urens 6X/30C: For sunburn treatment case of redness and swelling of the skin with a burning sensation. Apply Aloe Vera gel over the affected areas two times a day till you get relief from pain.
- Arnica 6C/30C: This remedy is proper when your sunburns are accompanied by swelling of the face, eyes, or lips with redness and itching of the whole body. You will feel better if you sit in the lukewarm water bath for 10 minutes twice daily after taking Arnica 30C once daily at night before going to bed for three days.
- Belladonna 6X/30C: Treating sunburn case where the affected area becomes very red and hot while there is a severe headache that increases exposure to even minimal light.
- Calendula Officinalis: This homeopathic remedy is typically used to eliminate the intense burning sensation in sunburns; it is usually taken orally in a 30c potency for immediate relief.
- Hamamelis virginiana: Apply this substance directly on any blisters that appear reddish, as this will help reduce the skin damage resulting from the sunburn.
If you are looking to get rid of your sunburn fast, these homeopathic remedies may prove helpful; however, make sure to speak with a homeopathy doctor before taking any drugs or supplements to understand better how it might impact your condition. It’s safe for you to use. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy now!