Sunburn – not very “cool” inflammation
The best remedy for sunburn: Don’t let it happen in the first place! Here’s what you can do if it does happen.
What is a sunburn?
Sunburn (dermatitis solaris) is an acute inflammation of the skin caused by too much sunlight or UV radiation. The radiation damage primarily affects the epidermis, i.e. the top layer of the skin. But inflammation can also occur in the underlying layer, the dermis. A mild sunburn manifests itself as reddening of the skin; a severe sunburn also causes blistering of the skin and may also result in scars. Fever, headache, nausea and vomiting may also occur. Repeated sunburn also ages the skin and can increase the risk of skin cancer.
These 4 skin types vary in their susceptibility to sunburn:
Skin type I: Very fair skin, reddish-blond hair, blue or green eyes and freckles. Unprotected, they can only stay in the sun for five to ten minutes (self-protection time) before their skin turns red – a sign of sunburn. Their skin hardly ever turns brown.
Skin type II: Blond to dark blond hair, fair skin and blue or green eyes. The self-protection time here is ten to 20 minutes.
Skin type III: Dark blond to brown-haired people with darker skin. They can stay in the sun unprotected for 20 to 30 minutes without their skin reddening.
Skin type IV: Dark brown to black hair and brownish-toned skin. Your self-protection time is 30 to 40 minutes.
What are the symptoms of sunburn?
Sunburn is a burn that occurs after contact with fire, for example. How severe the sunburn is depends on the intensity and duration of sun exposure as well as individual conditions such as skin type. Three degrees of severity can be distinguished:
Grade 1: Mild sunburn; the affected skin areas are reddened and overheated, tense and are often also slightly swollen. The sunburn itches and burns.
Grade 2: In grade 2 sunburn, blisters form on the skin. Later, the top layer of skin begins to peel off easily.
Grade 3: Grade 3 sunburn corresponds to a severe burn. The uppermost skin layers are destroyed and detach. The wounds usually heal with scarring.
Attention! In case of an extensive second or third degree sunburn, fever and general symptoms may also occur. Do not open the burn blisters yourself, as this can lead to a bacterial infection. It is better to seek treatment from a doctor for these symptoms. Our TeleDoc doctors can also help you get the right treatment!
The skin of the lips is also very sensitive to too much UV radiation. Within hours, redness and swelling appear, especially on the lower lip. In addition, a lip sunburn can cause blisters, crusts, scaling and burning pain. Generally speaking, sunburn on the face is particularly unpleasant.
Tips for avoiding sunburn
In addition to sunscreen with a high sun protection factor, the following tips also help to avoid sunburn as much as possible:
- Avoid midday sun between 12 noon and 3 p.m.
- Wear long, loose clothing
- Wear a sun hat – too much sun on the head can lead to sunstroke!
- You can also get a tan in the shade! It makes sense to stay in the shade, especially during the midday hours.
- Drink enough (2-3 litres per day)
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sunbathing
- Refresh your sun protection: Reapply every two hours, after bathing, as soon as you are dry
- Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV radiation
The best home remedies for sunburn
- Aloe vera: moisturises and soothes the skin.
- Curd and yoghurt poultice: Helps to cool the skin and reduce inflammation. Spread the mixture on a dry cloth and apply the poultice to the burn.
- Chamomile tea and black tea: have an anti-inflammatory effect and care for irritated skin.
- Healing clay: Cools and cares. It is mixed with cool water to form a paste and applied to the burnt skin. Once it has dried, wash it off with cool water.
- Lemon juice: Mix this with ice-cold water and rinse the affected skin area with it. The vitamin C in the lemon helps to soothe the inflammation.
If the pain is severe, you can take painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen. It is best to use painkillers that are well tolerated.