Sensitive to the sun? Just got a sunburn? Not to worry.
If you’re looking for a way to help your skin out, we went ahead and did the research for you. Keep reading to learn more about why you might be more sensitive to the sun than others, some common symptoms of sunburn, and ways to help ease the pain while your skin heals.
Determining Skin Type
Every skin type is different, which means some people are more sensitive to the sun than others.
The Fitzpatrick Skin Type System predicts which skin type is more at risk of sunburn based on melanin content. For example, skin that has a small amount of melanin has limited protection from sun damage and is more prone to burning quickly.
The more melanin a person has, the darker their skin, hair, and eyes will be, and the more likely it is that their skin will tan rather than burn .
Take a look:
Features: Pale white skin, often with green or blue eyes and fair or red hair.
Tanning and Burning: Burns without tanning.
Features: White skin, often with blue eyes.
Tanning and Burning: Burns and does not tan easily.
Features: Fair skin with brown eyes and brown hair.
Tanning and Burning: Burns first then tans.
Features: Light brown skin, dark eyes, and dark hair.
Tanning and Burning: Burns a little and tans easily.
Features: Brown skin, dark eyes, and dark hair.
Tanning and Burning: Easily tans to a darker color and rarely burns.
Features: Dark brown or black skin, dark eyes, and dark hair.
Tanning and Burning: Never burns, but tans darker.
Types of Sunburns & Common Symptoms
Sunburn damage can vary based on exposure. If you’ve ever gotten sunburnt, you know just how painful and irritating it can be.
There are two main levels of sunburn damage, though third-degree and fourth-degree burns are possible and need immediate emergency treatment [2, 3]:
- Least harmful and most common.
- Also known as a superficial burn.
- Makes the skin red, dry, and painful to the touch.
- Typically heals within 3 to 6 days.
- Affects the top two layers of the skin.
- Also known as superficial partial-thickness burn.
- Painful to the touch and in temperature changes.
- Blisters may form.
- Scarring is possible.
- The color of the original skin may become lighter or darker after healing.
- Typically heals within 7 to 21 days.
Most Common Symptoms of Sunburn :
- Swelling of the skin
- Weakness, confusion, or faintness
- Dry, itching, and peeling skin days after the burn
7 Ways to Ease Sunburn Pain
Remember these are suggestions! If you have experienced a serious burn or need medical assistance, please always contact a professional medical provider for answers.
Time is the key to healing sunburn. Make sure you are wearing protection before you go out into the sunshine - sunscreen lotion, hats, long sleeves, sunglasses, etc., to prevent the possibility of sunburn. Frequent sunburns can lead to sun-damaged cells and even skin cancer .
Second-degree burns can also become so painful that hospital care may be needed for pain control and topical treatments .
Your skin is the largest organ of your body - protection is so important!
The majority of sunburns can heal on their own, but a little bit of care and nurturing of your damaged skin may be soothing as you wait for the skin to heal.
Here are 7 ways you can ease the pain of sunburns:
Cool Baths & Showers
Cooling colloidal oatmeal baths may help to soothe sunburnt skin. Frequent cool showers may also help to relieve some pain. When you exit the bath or shower, you can also leave a small amount of water on your skin and then apply an aloe vera-infused moisturizer to trap the water in your skin.
Avoid the Sun
You don’t want further sun damage while your skin is still healing. Avoid venturing back out to the beach or spending long periods of time in the sunlight until your skin is fully healed. Protect your skin by wearing clothing that covers you, like tightly-woven fabrics with longer sleeves.
Everyone knows how important staying hydrated is, and when your skin is sunburnt, water is a very helpful tool. Sunburns draw fluids to the skin’s surface, away from other parts of your body that also need hydration, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can also limit your body’s ability to heal itself . Drink lots of extra water while your skin is healing.
Don’t Pop Blisters
You’ve always heard not to pop the pimples on your face. If you develop blisters after getting sunburnt, practice this same mentality. Blistering skin is typically a sign of a second-degree burn, meaning the burn is more serious. You may need to consult a healthcare professional for the next steps.
Like a cool bath or shower, applying cool compresses to your skin can be helpful in alleviating pain. Simply dampen a rag or cloth with cold water and gently pat the cloth onto your skin.
Apply a Soothing Moisturizer
Aloe vera is a coveted sunburn solution due to its anti-inflammatory properties and numerous vitamins and enzymes that help in wound healing . The plant itself has been used in a range of medicinal traditions ranging from Ayurvedic, Homoeopathic, and Allopathic practices .
If your sunburn isn’t severe, try applying an aloe-infused cream to soothe and rejuvenate your damaged skin as it heals. You’ll want a formula that is non-greasy and made without harsh chemicals, skin-irritating fragrances, or harsh fillers, like the Aloe Infusion Face and Body Cream.
Use a Hydrating Aloe Gel
Just like the moisturizer, you can also try an aloe vera-infused gel to soothe your sunburn. Your skin needs hydration, so we recommend trying the Aloe Infusion Aloe Vera Gel, made to provide relief for sunburns and damaged skin.
Aloe vera is our favorite way to soothe sunburns. If you’re looking for more aloe solutions, click here to see our entire collection. Check it out now!
If you have sunburn, we’re wishing you a speedy recovery. Remember, be gentle with yourself and give your skin time to heal. You’ve got this!
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- D'Orazio, J., Jarrett, S., Amaro-Ortiz, A., & Scott, T. (2013). UV radiation and the skin. International journal of molecular sciences, 14(6), 12222–12248. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms140612222.
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, June 24). Sunburn. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sunburn/symptoms-causes/syc-20355922.
- Sunburn: Causes, symptoms, and treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21858-sunburn.
- Guerra KC, Crane JS. Sunburn. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534837/.
- Sunburn. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/sunburn.
- Jadhav Ashwini S.*, Patil Omkar A., Kadam Sampada V., Dr. Bhutkar Mangesh A. (2020). Review on aloe vera used in Medicinal Plant. Asian Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Science. Retrieved from https://indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor%3Aajrps&volume=10&issue=1&article=006.
- Maenthaisong, R., Chaiyakunapruk, N., Niruntraporn, S., & Kongkaew, C. (2007). The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review. Burns: journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries, 33 (6), 713–718. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.burns.2006.10.384.