First aid treatment for sunburn includes over-the-counter pain relievers (for example, ibuprofen or naproxen, which are anti-inflammatory drugs), and sunburn gels or creams. If medical treatment is necessary, stronger pain medication, antibiotics, or silver sulfadiazine may be prescribed.
Sunburn Home Remedies
Home care begins prior to a sunburn. Prevention is the most important step to
avoid short-term consequences of sun exposure (redness, pain, blistering) and
the long-term risks for skin damage and skin cancer.
Immediate self-care is aimed at stopping the UV radiation.
- Get out of the sun
- Cover exposed skin
- Do not use tanning beds
- Use SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher and apply frequently when
Relief of the discomfort becomes important, and there are several sunburn
- Medications such as
(Advil, Motrin), and
to decrease pain and inflammation are useful, especially when started early.
- For mild sunburn, cool compresses with equal parts
of milk and water may suffice. Cold compresses with Burow's solution may
also be used, and can be bought at a drugstore. Dissolve 1 packet in 1 pint of water. Soak gauze or a soft clean cloth in it. Gently wring out the cloth and apply to the sunburned area for 15-20 minutes. Change or refresh the cloth and solution every 2-3 hours.
Aloe Vera gel or aloe-based lotions may soothe irritated skin. These can be
found in the drugstore.
- Cool (not ice cold) baths may help. Avoid bath
salts, oils, and perfumes because these may produce sensitivity reactions. Avoid scrubbing the skin or shaving the skin. Use soft towels to gently dry
the body. Don't rub. Use a light, fragrance-free skin moisturizer.
- Stay out of the sun while you are sunburned.
- Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/14/2015
Must Read Articles Related to Sunburn
Dehydration in Adults
Dehydration occurs when the loss of body fluids (mostly water), exceeds the amount that is taken in. Causes of dehydration include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, di...learn more >>
Dehydration in Children
Dehydration in children can result from not drinking enough liquids, vomiting, diarrhea, or combination of these conditions. Causes of dehydration in children i...learn more >>
Heat rash (prickly heat) is a red or pink rash caused by plugged sweat glands. Symptoms include welts, hives (urticaria), raised red bumps, or itching. Treatmen...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Sunburn (Sun Poisoning):