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How to treat Sunburn? | Online Pharmacy | Brennans Pharmacy

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Do you know somebody who has had too much exposure to the sun recently? Research shows that 90% of 10-17 years olds have experienced sunburn in their lifetimes. Once the damage is inflicted on your skin, it takes 12 to 24 hours for you to know the severity and extent of the burn. Regardless, it’s vital that you act as quickly as possible to prevent further damage to your skin and treat sunburn seriously.

Notably, your skin’s natural healing process commences after several days or even weeks if you don’t put any cream or ointment on the affected area. Sunburn treatment is designed to strike the burn on two fronts relieving reddened, inflamed skin while easing the pain. 

Why Do You Need to Treat Sunburn?

Sunburn results from over-exposure to the sun or other artificial sources of heat and light, like sunlamps and sunbeds. However, regardless of how it came about, the same approach to treatment applies.

Sunburn treatment doesn’t heal your skin, but it can reduce pain, swelling, and discomfort. If you notice your skin getting hot or sore, seek out the shade as soon as possible and cover-up.

Next, cool down the area where the skin is burned. Place a cold, damp towel on the area or shower using cold water. It will feel uncomfortable, but it will help to minimize skin damage.

If you are in pain and can take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen & paracetamol for some relief.

Aftersun lotions cool the skin and contain moisturizers to counteract skin dryness and tightness. Any plain emollient could also be used on undamaged skin to help with comfort. 

If the sunburn continues to linger, you should seek a doctor’s advice. 

If you have babies who have sunburn bring them to your local pediatrician as soon as possible as their skin is very fragile.

Step-by-Step Guide to Treat Sunburn

  1. Stay in the shade
  2. Apply a cold compress to your skin.
  3. Take a cool bath to soothe the burn. Avoid using soap to prevent irritation. Afterward, do not rub the skin dry; gently pat it dry instead.
  4. To take the sting out of your sunburn, gently rub on a cream or gel containing ingredients such as Menthol, Aloe, and Camphor. Refrigerate the cream to get a more soothing effect.
  5. Take Paracetamol or Ibuprofen to help with pain relief. Make sure to check with your pharmacist if these are suitable for you.
  6. Drink plenty of water and other types of liquids to prevent dehydration. Evade any alcohol drink because it dehydrates your skin instead of healing.
  7. Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals.

You may be able to treat the sunburn yourself but call your GP if you notice any of these more serious sunburn signs:

  • Fever above 38.8 degrees
  • Chills
  • Severe pain
  • Sunburn blisters that cover 20% or more of your body
  • Dry mouth
  • Thirst
  • Reduced urination
  • Dizziness and fatigue

Prevention is the Best Cure

That old adage rings true, once again!

Spending hours under the sun for work, play, or both creates a huge risk to your health if you do not take sufficient precautions. The sunburn in your skin is a product of excessive sun exposure. It causes pain, blisters, itching, peeling and can be also lead to skin cancer.

People with fair skin, light hair, light eyes, and freckles tend to be at a higher risk for sunburn and sun poisoning, which is a severe case of sunburn. However, people with darker skin are less prone to sunburn. Black and brown pigments in the skin create more protection against the UV rays of the sun. Despite the extra protection that darker skin gets, you are still prone to skin cancer if you are not cautious.

If you take medications that make sunburn more likely, be extra careful. For instance, tetracycline is taken orally for acne. As much as possible, cover-up while you’re outdoors and stay in the shade.

To prevent future incidents of sunburn, remember to follow the Sun Smart Code. Use sunscreen throughout the summer even on cloudy days. Make sure to use a broad-spectrum product that protects your bare skin against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Try not to spend long, uninterrupted periods in the sun. Cover-up, wear sunglasses and hats for extra protection. 

Melanoma prevention

We can’t always prevent melanoma, but we can reduce our chances of developing it by avoiding great exposure to the sun and getting sunburned. Most Irish catch skin burns during summer outdoor activities such as sunbathing, gardening, or playing sports.

Being extra careful during the summer season needs helps a lot, especially if you have many moles and pale skin. Sunscreen and proper attire to protect your skin under the sun help a lot.

Avoid staying close to sunlamps and sunbeds to keep your skin fresh during the night. When you visit your family doctor or local physician, don’t forget to have your skin checked for early diagnosis and treatment. 

Your skin is prone to skin cancer caused by melanoma if you have or may experience the following:

  • Genetically caused (If you have a close family member with a skin cancer caused by melanoma)
  • Pale-looking skin
  • Blue-colored eyes
  • Blonde or red hair (Natural and not chemically induced)
  • Freckles in the cheeks (Or other face parts)
  • Damaged skins from radiotherapy/sunburn
  • Immuno-compromised ailments (HIV)
  • Taking medications that suppresses the immune system 
  • Past cancer diagnosis 

Skin cancer can take 10-15 years to develop and is the most common cancer in young people in Ireland aged 15 to 44 years old.  Thus, protecting babies, children, and teenagers against too much exposure under the sun reduces the risk for skin cancer development as they grow older. However, sunscreen is not enough to give complete 100% protection against the damage in your skin caused by UV rays. You need to apply good practical tips as outlined in our blog here.

Sun Cream Product Recommendations

It is recommended to use sun cream products like:

Please check Brennan’s pharmacy website or call in-store for more sun cream products.

Recommended products to use when you get sunburnt

As mentioned above, there are a number of aftersun lotions, gels and creams to help soothe your burn & give moisture to your skin. Some that we regularly recommend include:

Please check Brennan’s pharmacy website or call in-store for more recommended products to treat sunburn.

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Got any questions? Need some Advice?

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Abigail Doherty | Buncrana | Brennans Pharmacy
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