Des Moines University Clinic Family Medicine

Skin care tips for when you feel the burn

Summer is in full swing and we’re all enjoying the hot, sunny days. But sunshine has a way of making us forget about proper skin care. We all know that we’re supposed to apply copious amounts of sunscreen, yet we don’t apply it as much as recommended and sometimes fail to wear any at all. Our forgetfulness can lead to a pretty painful consequence: sunburn.

Best ways to treat a sunburn

If you stay out in the sun too long, you’re bound to get a sunburn. You may find relief at home, but depending on how bad the burn is, you may need to see your primary care provider. Most burns can be treated at home with some simple solutions:

  • Take ibuprofen or Tylenol for pain relief.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Take a cool bath or apply a cool, moist pack.
  • Apply aloe to soothe your skin or hydrocortisone if the sunburn is more severe or itchy.
  • Avoid picking at peeling skin because the dead skin can pull the new skin off right with it.
  • Stay out of the sun until the burn is completely resolved.

If you have a blistering sunburn on more than 15% of your body, a fever of 101 degrees or symptoms of dehydration– dry mouth, infrequent urination or dark urine color–you need to see a health professional.

With blistering burns, you’re more at risk of dehydration and infection, especially if you pick at them. Blisters are nature’s Band-Aids. Bacteria love the moist, new skin that grows underneath. If one breaks open, bring the blister back over the wound or put a Band-Aid over it.

The draw of sunshine is strong. Despite repeated burns and occasional blisters, we still seek out its rays. If you’re terrible about remembering to apply sunscreen, you can still take additional precautions to protect your skin. Wear clothing, preferably with SPF protection, and big hats to protect your head, face and neck. Some clothing such as thin cotton T-shirts aren’t effective at blocking the sun, but manufacturers like L.L. Bean display the SPF protection on tags.

The expert family medicine providers at the Des Moines University Clinic can help you and your loved ones stay healthy all year round. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the DMU Clinic website or call 515-271-1710.

Disclaimer: This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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