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Sunburn - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Sunburn?

Skin is the largest organ is the body and it is exposed to the rays of the sun. The ultraviolet rays of the sun penetrate through the skin and helps in the formation melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment that gives the dark tan to the skin. The higher the melanin in the body, the darker the skin.

Exposure to the sun’s radiation also helps in the formation of vitamin D and warmth to the body.

When the body is exposed to too much ultraviolet rays, it causes a condition called sunburn. Burn due to ultraviolet rays is also caused when the body is exposed to other sources of ultraviolet rays like phototherapy lamps, arc lamps and tanning beds.

Causes and Consiquences :

Almost all people of all ages, race and sex can get sunburns. The condition is prevalent during all seasons even in winters when the radiation of the sun is low. Number of people suffering from sunburn is more towards the equator and at higher altitudes. Lighter skinned people are more at risk than dark skinned counterparts.

Mild first degree burns are caused due to sunburns. When the condition is serious there may be dehydration, second degree burns and infection. Sunburn can result from exposure to sun due to excessive outdoor activity. The ultraviolet rays pass through the clothes and reach the skin. They can even reach the skin when the clothes are wet.

Sunburn will increase symptoms of diseases like herpes, eczema, dermatitis, and erythematosus. Severe sunburn can also cause melanoma, skin cancer, premature ageing, wrinkling of skin, dehydration, exhaustion and heatstroke.

Sunburn will increase symptoms of diseases like herpes, eczema, dermatitis, and erythematosus. Severe sunburn can also cause melanoma, skin cancer, premature ageing, wrinkling of skin, dehydration, exhaustion and heatstroke.

More about :

The condition is not life threatening, however, it can cause a lot of pain. First aid is given to patients who suffer from mild sunburn. When the sunburn is severe, doctors will prescribe steroidal drugs that can relieve pain and inflammation. Hospitalization of patients with sunburn is necessary when the symptoms are severe. In mild cases, they are treated as outpatients and provided with cool baths, showers, anti-inflammatory medications and avoid further sun exposure.

Prevention and Treatment

Prevention of sunburn is possible by not exposing oneself from the harmful sun radiations, use of sunscreens while venturing outside and wearing caps and sunglasses. All these preventive measures can help a person to avoid sunburns and also prevent further episodes of sunburns if one has suffered from one.

Sunburn is a condition that is not fatal and can be treated easily. Precautions enable to prevent sunburns and offer protection.

Treatable by medical professional Usually self diagnosable Lab test not required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Redness in skin Itchiness Inflammed skin Swelling

Popular Health Tips

Moderate Sun Exposure - How Does It Benefit The Skin?

MBBS, MD - Dermatology
Dermatologist, Chandigarh
Moderate Sun Exposure - How Does It Benefit The Skin?

Most people facing skin issues, be it dark spots or pigments, blame the sun for their issues. It is true that the sun is one of the most common causes of skin problems from dermatitis to melasma to sunburn to cancer. However, this is due to excessive, unprotected exposure to the sun. What is not known to most people is that the sun can do wonders for your skin when the exposure is moderate.

In fact, it is essential in a way to get a certain amount of exposure to the sun in order to have great skin. Not many know that humans also absorb sunlight and metabolize it to get various benefits.

Read on and understand the contradictions:

  1. Bone health: The most common fact linking the sun and human health is that it is beneficial for bone health. This is because of the vitamin D present in sun rays that is responsible for bone health. Newborn babies are exposed to early morning sunlight so they can develop strong bones.
  2. Sunlight brings on happiness: The happy chemical serotonin is released when a person gets exposed to the sun. It is not without reason that some people wake up to sunrise with a big smile on their faces. It does make them truly happy!! So, go out and get the sunshine on your face. It improves your emotional well-being and even helps control depression. People in countries which do not receive sunlight for weeks or months together experience what is termed as a seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
  3. Psychological disorders: It has been proven that in conditions like Alzheimer’s, depression, and panic disorders, regular, controlled exposure to the sun helps improve symptoms.
  4. Blood pressure control: The nitric oxide produced during sun exposure is known to help reduce blood pressure. This, in turn, helps reduce other conditions like stroke and heart attacks.
  5. Cancer prevention: Better levels of Vitamin D reduce the risk of some cancers; Breast, pancreas, ovarian, and colon for instance. Countries that have very less sunlight have more of these cancers.
  6. Sleep well: Sunlight controls the body’s circadian rhythm and chemically manages this via melatonin. During the day, this is reduced and during the nights, it is increased. This helps maintain a regular sleep pattern.
  7. Immune booster: The white blood cells which are the infection fighters are produced in larger numbers when exposed to the sun. This, in turn, helps fight infections and boosts immunity.
  8. Treats skin disorders: While sun causes some skin problems, it also heals some, like psoriasis, acne, jaundice, and other skin infections. The phototherapy which is used in these conditions is a targeted beam of light which stimulates the deeper skin layers to produce the essential skin cells and heal itself.
  9. Nutrition and sun: The scientists are deciphering that people who place their main meals between sunrise and sunset are the healthiest.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3981 people found this helpful

UV Rays - Know How They Harm Your Skin!

MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Hyderabad
UV Rays - Know How They Harm Your Skin!

In limited quantities, ultraviolet rays are not only beneficial but also necessary for maintaining proper health. The Vitamin D from the sun’s rays can help cure several diseases such as eczema, jaundice and psoriasis. If adequate amounts of sun rays are not received by the body, bone growth gets hampered that can result in osteoporosis and other bone weakness issues. However, if it is received in abundance, its’ effects can be profusely detrimental to the immune system, eyes and the skin.

Since skin tanning and sun-bathing have become increasingly popular among the mass, it is necessary for people to be more aware of the potential risks of sun exposure.

  1. "Erythema" or sunburn is a very common condition among fair skinned people, which occurs when the skin absorbs energy from the sun’s rays. The system detects it as a harmful, intrusive force and thereby signals for extra blood to reach the affected area and restore the skin. It results in pain, swelling, blistering, itching and peeling of the skin. Not only is it a painful condition, it can also be a precursor to even more harmful diseases.
  2. Skin cancer cases are steadily on the rise in the world, with 5 new such cases being reported every week. Due to prolonged exposure to harsh UV rays, the number of damaged cells in the body increases to such an extent that the system cannot mend it anymore. When not controlled, these damaged cells multiply, grow or divide uncontrollably. These cells can also accumulate and form a tumor.
  3. Repeated and prolonged exposure to sun rays can also cause premature aging and wrinkling due to the degenerative damages it does to the skin’s epidermis.
  4. If one is vulnerable to sunburn, it is recommended for them to carry sunscreen at all times. The UV rays are blocked by the deflecting properties of sunscreens, thereby protecting the skin to a large degree.
  5. It is recommended for patients to carry umbrellas, or protective clothing to cover themselves up if they are vulnerable to harsh sun’s rays in the morning.
  6. Although sun exposure can cause several problems to our skin, with proper precautions, one can be assured of safety. Sun exposure can be properly managed if one remembers to make use of these simple tips daily.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2575 people found this helpful

Tips To Healthy And Revitalized Skin

MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy, MBBS
Dermatologist, Gurgaon
Tips To Healthy And Revitalized Skin

All of us desire to possess a healthy and glowing skin but factors like unhealthy lifestyle practices, inadequate sleep, extreme stress, anxiety and poor dietary choices tend to damage the health of your skin, giving it a dull and tired appearance.

The following are some tips that will enable you to revitalize your skin:

  1. Quit smoking and alcohol intake: Smoking reduces blood circulation to the interior of your skin layers, which makes your skin look dull and tired. Alcohol tends to reduce blood circulation, nutrients and quantity of oxygen supply to your skin. Hence, it is essential to limit the usage of both alcohol and tobacco.
  2. Drink lots water:  Water is essential for the smooth functioning of your system. It is extremely important to hydrate your cells, to enable effective elimination of toxins from your system. An adequately hydrated body will add a healthy glow to your skin as well.
  3. Eat a balanced diet: A diet that is rich in carbohydrates and fats tend to cause more wrinkles. Green leafy vegetables and fresh seasonal fruits have antioxidants and essential vitamins, while food like fish, tofu, white meat, beans, lentils are rich in protein, all of which tend to make your skin appear younger. A balanced diet that incorporates essential nutrients is good for your skin cells and its rejuvenation. Eat mixed nuts to increase the elasticity of your skin; most nuts contain fatty acids that enable your skin to repair and rejuvenate itself.
  4. Use sunscreen:  Almost ninety percent of the wrinkles occur due to extreme sun exposure. It is advisable to use effective sunscreen and sun protection techniques to prevent sun damage. It not only protects your skin from harmful UV rays of the sun but also protects it from sun burn and sun tans.
  5. Remove your make up prior to sleep: When you go to bed without removing your make-up, the accumulated dirt and sweat tend to clog your skin pores. It is extremely necessary to remove your make up prior to sleep to lessen the risk of pimple and formation of rash on skin. 
  6. Go to bed early: Inadequate sleep tends to lower your blood circulation, which is responsible for making you look washed out and pale. Proper sleep not only gives your body the required rest but also enables your skin to rejuvenate itself through involuntary renewal process. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
2651 people found this helpful

Prolonged Sun Exposure - How It Can Damage Your Skin?

MBBS, M.Med.Sci Cosmetology, Ph.D Cosmetology(prel)
Cosmetic/Plastic Surgeon, Chennai
Prolonged Sun Exposure - How It Can Damage Your Skin?

A little bit of sun is always good for you and you do need sunlight for your body to process vitamin D, which is necessary for bone health. At the same time, the ultraviolet rays from the sun can be detrimental for your health. While being in the sun is not a bad thing, how long you stay in the sun and how well you are protecting yourself count. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure harms your skin and can decrease the immunity function of the skin.

Some effects of sun exposure include:

  1. Development of cancerous and non-cancerous skin lesions
  2. Benign tumours
  3. Coarse and fine wrinkles
  4. Freckles
  5. Mottled pigmentation (Skin discoloration in certain areas)
  6. Sallowness (The colour of the skin turns yellow)
  7. Telangiectasia (Expansion of blood vessels under your skin)
  8. Elastosis (Destruction of the collagen and elastic tissue)

The most harmful effect of sun exposure is definitely skin cancer. It is the uncontrolled development of anomalous skin cells is skin cancer. This accelerated development leads to formation of tumours, which are either malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous). Skin cancer is mainly of 3 types: basal cell carcinoma, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Among these, squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma are less critical; while melanoma is very serious. When melanoma is left untreated, it can affect the other organs and get difficult to treat. UV rays are the major causes of skin cancer. Sun exposure over the years leads to squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, while severe sun damage episodes before the age of 18 cause melanoma.

Here are some tips to prevent sun damage:

  1. Always apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go out, even if it is cloudy. A sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more, and zinc oxide is advisable if you want optimum sun protection. Also, you should reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, especially if you are swimming or sweating.
  2. Select cosmetic products, contact lenses and clothing that offer protection from UV rays.
  3. Choose sunglasses that offer total protection from UV rays. Also, wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your neck and face.
  4. Avoid direct exposure during harsh hours like between 10.00 and 3.00PM. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cosmetic/Plastic Surgeon.
3492 people found this helpful

Skin Problems Caused due to Sun Exposure

MBBS, Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD)
Dermatologist, Thane
Skin Problems Caused due to Sun Exposure

Exposure to the sun for a long period of time can result in several skin problems. They occur on the basis of heat, humidity and the rays of the sun. Here are the most common skin problems caused due to sun exposure:

  1. Sunburn: Sunburns occur as a result of overexposure of the skin to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Melanin in the skin protects it from the sun’s rays, but in case of overexposure, melanin fails to work and sunburn is caused. The symptoms of sunburn include the skin turning red, burning in the affected areas, skin tightness and a sensation of itching. Severe symptoms are blisters, chills, fever and fatigue.
  2. Age spots: Age spots are caused due to overexposure to the sun. They are brown marks, which appear on the surface of the skin, especially in the arms, hands and other body parts. Age spots get more prevalent with ageing. Symptoms of this condition include brown and gray pigmentation on the skin surface. The pigmentation occurs in a circular shape and is flat on the skin.
  3. Photosensitivity: This condition is also known as sun allergy. People with photosensitivity are likely to get burned from sun exposure very easily, and symptoms of sunburn are observed. Symptoms include red and pink skin rashes accompanied by itching and burning. The area gets scaly and blistered.
  4. Moles: Moles occur commonly due to sun exposure. They may appear on any part of the body. Moles may vary from being harmless to cancerous. Common symptoms include raised skin and the skin tone changing into reddish brown or black. Moles are round in shape, and some moles are painful.
  5. Solar elastosis: This condition is commonly known wrinkles and occurs when the elastic tissues of the skin get deteriorated due to sun exposure. The skin turns limp on account of no strength of the tissues and collagen. Wrinkles appear, and the skin seems loose and sagging. Deep lines are formed on the skin.
  6. Skin cancer: Skin cancer accounts for being the most severe and fatal result of prolonged exposure to the sun without any kind of protection. There are many forms of skin cancer. The most primary skin cancers include Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
  7. Polymorphous light eruption: This condition, known as PMLE in short, affects women between the age group of twenty to forty. It also occurs in light sensitive people who spend more time under the sun. Symptoms include a red or pink, bumpy rash and raised areas on the skin surface. Itchiness and dry patches are indicated.

A large number of skin problems occur due to long hours of sun exposure. Some of these are chronic problems, which require proper treatment. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.

2824 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My name is Showkat age 28 My skin was fair and white while working in hotel but after returning from there I have lot of tan and my skin got black even I am not directly going into the sun, so please suggest me the cream for the tan and dark face.

MD - Dermatology, MBBS
Dermatologist, Vadodara
Tan develops either because of sun exposure, long sickness, nutritional deficiency or due to certain medicines. If everything is normal always use a sunscreen after bath in the morning even if you don't go in sunlight.
1 person found this helpful

Hi, I am 20 years old guy. My exposed skin area like face and hands has turned very dark tanning from past 10 years. Inside arms n whole body is glowing radiant but the exposed areas are very dark which makes me sad though I apply sunscreen everyday. Please suggest me some natural cure to this.

MD (AIIMS), Clinical Fellow,Skin Oncology(New England Medical Centre & Boston University,USA), Clinical Fellow.Photomedicine(Mass.Gen.Hospital,Harvard Medical School,USA), Clinical Fellow,Laser Surgery(Mass.Gen Hospital,Harvard Medical School,USA)
Dermatologist, Kolkata
You have said it yourself: exposed areas are naturally prone to darkness. Medically, this is actually a good response of the human skin to protect deeper layers from UV rays, which cause wrinkles and skin cancers. You can imagine this like an inbulit natural umbrella (or like photochromatic glasses) within your skin which "opens up" and becomes darker with sunexposure. However, most Indians, for unknown social reasons like fair skin. For this social reason (and not for medical reasons), you can cover your skin with thick layers of broad spectrum sunscreens. Keeping your skin covered with full-sleeves, umbrellas and hats will also help.
1 person found this helpful

I have sun tan and it is visible on my shoulders, face and neck. I can describe as like a line or 2 divide my hand and neck into black portion and white portion. What will I do. And what is good for which I can get my colour of that portion back. Its very embarrassing while with friends who just make laugh saying "map with water and land"

MD - Dermatology Venereology & Leprosy, MBBS
Dermatologist, Ludhiana
Hi lybrate-user, we indians are very much prone to tanning. Applying a sunscreen can help prevent tanning. The tanning that has already happened can be taken care of by exfoliating and lightening agents like vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids. You can amp up your water intake, take more yellow fruits, tomatoes, green vegetable, walnuts, fish. We can discuss further through private consultation.
3 people found this helpful

Skin tanning is increasing day by day I am suffering from black head black under eyes pls help me to detan my face and toxify it pls provide some home remedies too.

Dermatologist, Chennai
Use avarta under eye cream twice daily, along with the following medicine. Contact me or send photos on direct private online consultation for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Hy I am aisha from Bhubaneswar I have a lot of issues about skin pigmentation and tanning on my hands are badly affected of sun tan please suggest me any night cream or brand to get rid of it or any effective home remedies please .Thank you.

Dermatologist, Chennai
Use dermadew aloe cream twice daily. Do direct online consultation by sending photos, otherwise meet me at my clinic, for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Sunburn?

Causes and Consiquences :

More about :

Prevention and Treatment

Play video
Skin Care Tips
Hello, I am Shruti Kohli. I am a consultant Dermatologist in cosmetologist in Sarvodaya Hospital, Sec-8, Faridabad. Also, I have a clinic in Sec- 15, Faridabad by the name of Crimson Clinic. I have been practising from last 12 years.

Today, I am going to talk about the "summer skin care tips".

Summers brings a lot of skin problems, such as Fungal infections, sunburn, excessive sweating and rashes. Here are few tips for the smooth sailing summer,

Use sunscreen before stepping out in the sun, that is the most important preventive step anyone can take in the summer season. The sun screen should be minimum SPF of 15 and should protect against both UVA and UVB.
Apply the sunscreen 15 minutes prior to go to the sun. And it can be applied after every 3-4 hours.
The sun also has a bad effect on the lips. In order to protect them, you can moisturize them by applying lip balm with SPF of 15, as and when required.
For the face cleaning, I would recommend a gentle exfoliating face wash containing glycolic acid, which will help to remove a dead skin as well as the harmful effect of sweat and pollutants from your skin.
After cleansing of the skin, it is important to use light water base moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
Avoid heavy creams and oils as the skin breakouts.
If you are exposed to the sun for long period, then aloe vera gel is recommended, as it is a soothing and cooling agent. also it has antioxidant properties. It can also prevent damaging of the skin of free radicles.
Aloe vera can also be used a cooling mask occasionally.
I would recommend washing off yourself twice daily with cold water, in order to remove the pollutants.
Also, use a white broad hat to protect your skin, especially the skin of your face. Or you can use an umbrella while being exposed to the sun.
Eat plenty of watermelon and muskmelon daily.
There are certain foods which give inherent protection against the sun. These include tomatoes, berries, citrus fruits, nuts which contain Vitamin C.
And the last is, hydrate yourself regularly. drink atleast 12-15 glass of water daily for a glowing, youthful and healthy skin. Coconut water also works well and is recommended in your daily routine.
Summer will be fun if you follow the simple tips given by me. You can contact me for any skin related problem, through Lybrate or you can also take a direct appointment in my clinic which is in Sec-15 A, by the name of Crimson clinic.

Thank you.

Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice