Beat the Burn: What to Do After Too Much Sun

Beat the Burn: What to Do After Too Much Sun

Spending time outside in the sun can be a blast, but it can also come back to bite you if you don’t take specific preventive measures. Excessive time in the sun without any of these precautions will eventually lead to sunburn. Severe sunburn can be dangerous and painful, but sunburn itself is preventable and treatable! In this article, we will discuss some signs that you’ve had too much sun, the effects of sunburn, how to prevent it in the first place and some do’s and don’ts for what to do after long sun exposure.

Signs You’ve Had Too Much Sun

Many signs could indicate you were recently sunburned or had excessive sun exposure. Look for the following.

  • Change in skin color: By far, this is the most obvious sign that you have a sunburn. Typically, sunburn will cause your skin to become red almost immediately after sun exposure. This redness can last as long as a couple of days, but peak redness typically occurs within one day after the burn happens. For minor burns, tender skin in and around the burn area usually accompanies skin color changes. Sunburn blisters could also occur in more severe scenarios.
  • Nausea: Nausea after getting sunburned typically accompanies a fever and can be prevalent in severe cases. In this scenario, nauseousness generally stems from dehydration, so don’t overlook feeling a little sick after spending a day out in the sun.
  • Itching: Itchy skin after a day of sun most notably correlates to sunburn. Your skin will feel itchy in spots that you overexposed to the sun. Itches will go away as the burn heals or as you treat it with itch-soothing creams or gels.
  • Peeling: Peeling often occurs as your burns recover due to dead skin cells shedding off your body. It is vital to let peeling happen naturally to reduce the chance of infection and speed up the healing process.
Side Effects of Sunburn

Side Effects of Sunburn

While the list of symptoms above may give you reason enough to keep from getting sunburned, there are also numerous adverse side effects to sunburn if not prevented or treated correctly. 

  • Sun hangover: This condition occurs when you feel under the weather after a day out in the sun. This sick feeling results from inflammation caused by the sun and your body’s response to fighting it.
  • Premature aging: Sun damage is cumulative, which means its effects won’t show up until further down the road. However, premature aging can occur for people with moderate to heavy amounts of mild sunburn throughout their lives. It becomes even more of a concern if you don’t use proactive skin care measures, both for burned skin and daily protection.
  • Hospital admittance: For more severe cases of sunburn, if the DIY techniques that we will discuss later don’t effectively treat your sunburn, you may need to visit the hospital for further treatment.
  • Skin cancer: Severe sunburns can also dramatically increase your risk for melanoma, or skin cancer. Shielding your skin from the sun is the best way to combat this.

How to Prevent Sunburn

You can take three distinct actions to reduce sun exposure and help prevent sunburn while you are outside. The first is wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher. This straightforward tactic works well, but you also must remember to reapply as often as the sunscreen suggests because each application only protects for a few hours.

Another practical suggestion is to ensure you have a hat, mask or other covering to protect your face from direct exposure. If you can help it, don’t stay outside for long periods. Taking breaks from the sun to rest, hydrate and reapply sunscreen is a wise way to reduce your risk of sunburn.

Things to Avoid While Burned

When actively trying to treat or cope with sunburn, it’s best to avoid a few types of products so you don’t further irritate or damage your skin. Any gritty products, like facial scrubs with microbeads, can be rough on sensitive, sunburned skin. In addition, stay away from harsh chemicals such as acne products, as your goal should be to hydrate your skin during recovery, not dry it out further.

Petroleum jelly is another commonly used product people recovering from sunburn should steer clear of. It traps the heat that is trying to leave your body through the sunburn, causing more pain and aggravation. Last but not least, while you are healing from severe sunburn, steer clear of pure essential oils, as they can dry and irritate your skin. 

Treatments for At-Home Recovery

For each effective sunburn remedy someone recommends, you may find even more unsuccessful ones. With so much conflicting advice, it’s a challenge to sift the helpful from the actively harmful. Here are some tried-and-true actions you can take right away to start your healing process.

  • Get hydrated: Sunburn actively brings fluids to the skin’s surface, meaning you can quickly become dehydrated. Hydrating yourself from the inside with plenty of fluids directly impacts your skin’s health.
  • Moisturize your skin:Applying a topical moisturizer like aloe vera, or a cream that contains it, directly to the affected areas is by far one of the best ways to treat sunburn. These gels or creams work to hydrate and soothe your skin while also reducing inflammation caused by sunburn. Other optimal sunburn-soothing ingredients to look for in a topical lotion or moisturizer include vitamins D and C, lanolin, oat and ceramides.
  • Green tea: Green tea contains tannic acid, which is excellent for healing skin and relieving pain relating to sunburn. However, you must apply the tea topically to get results, whether through a spray or wet compress.
  • Oatmeal bath: While this may seem unorthodox, you can mix colloidal oatmeal into your bath to help moisturize and soothe your sunburned skin. Ground oats can hold a lot of moisture, which will transfer into your skin.
Mobile IV Therapy for Sunburn and More

Mobile IV Therapy for Sunburn and More 

While these suggested treatments will all relieve the unpleasant effects of severe sunburn, they take time to get results and may only lead to marginal improvements when used individually. For a fast and efficient sun hangover cure, check out the Sunburn IV from Mobile IV Medics. Designed to deliver vitamins and medications directly into your bloodstream, Sunburn IV uses a typical hydration IV fused with vitamins C and D, among other ingredients, to help relieve sunburn symptoms and get you back to feeling your best! Book your mobile IV session online today or contact us with any questions.

About the author

Brad
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D.

Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D. is a licensed pharmacist and co-owner of Mobile IV Medics. With over 16 years of healthcare experience, Brad is bringing his expertise and passion for patient care to the Mobile IV Medics patient population. Prior to Mobile IV Medics, Brad worked in varying areas including both direct patient care and hospital leadership at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, nationwide health system pharmacy consulting for Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), and professor of pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy. He holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Arizona, a pharmacy practice residency from USC, and a lean six sigma green belt from Johns Hopkins.