Sunburn

Also known as: sun poisoning.

What is sunburn?

Sunburn is painful, red and hot skin that results from overexposure to sunlight. Sunburn can not only be painful in the short term, but it can increase the risk of wrinkles, rough spots and skin cancer over time.

What causes sunburn?

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are the cause of sunburn. These rays trigger the skin’s melanin into producing more for protection, and sunburn is the result. People with lighter skin or who are exposed to the sun regularly through work or vacation are more likely to get a sunburn.

What are the symptoms of sunburn?

Pink or red skin, heat, pain, itching, tenderness, welling, blisters, headache, fatigue and fever are all potential symptoms of sunburn.

What are sunburn care options?

Avoiding sun exposure by wearing sunscreen or other sun-protective clothing are the best ways to prevent a sunburn. If one occurs, cool compresses, over-the-counter pain relievers, and topical moisturizers can help. Seek medical attention if the sunburn is severe.


Reviewed by: Ana Margarita Duarte, MD

This page was last updated on: July 30, 2021 02:59 PM


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