When should I see a dermatologist for a sunburn?
You should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if your sunburn:
- Blisters and covers a large portion of your body
- Doesn’t improve within a few days
- Is accompanied by extreme pain, a headache, high fever, chills, nausea, or confusion
How should I treat my sunburn?
If your skin gets too much sun without proper protection, it is crucial to start treating a sunburn as soon as you notice it. The first thing you should do is seek shelter from the sun so that the damage doesn’t get any worse. Although it may seem like a temporary condition, sunburn can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. This damage increases the risk of skin cancer, making it critical to protect yourself from the sun.
Here are a few dermatologist-recommended tips for treating a sunburn on your own:
- Relieve the pain with a cool bath or shower. As soon as you get out of the shower or tub, gently pat yourself dry but leave a little water on your skin. Apply a moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin to help ease the dryness.
- Use a moisturizer that contains soy or aloe vera. Do not treat your skin with “-caine” products (i.e., benzocaine), as they may cause an allergic reaction and irritate your skin. For more painful areas, you can apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
- Drink plenty of water. Extra water will help prevent dehydration and sunburns will draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body.
- Allow your blisters to heal. Blistering skin means that you have a second-degree burn. Do not pop your blisters because they form to help your skin improve and protect you from infection.
- Take extra care to protect your sunburned skin. Cover your skin with clothing when you go outside (tightly-woven fabrics work best). If you hold fabric up to a bright light, you shouldn’t wear it out if any light comes through.
Schedule treatments in New Hampshire or Massachusetts
If you have followed all of the steps listed above and you still experience symptoms, schedule an appointment at Dermatology & Skin Health. In extreme cases, we can provide topical steroids to relieve your symptoms. We have locations in Dover, NH, Newington, NH and Peabody, MA. Book your appointment online or give us a call at (603) 742-5556 (Dover & Newington) or (978) 525-0100 (Peabody).