My Skin Centre

What If You Mess up? How to Treat Sunburn

Even those with the most dedicated sun protection routine might mess up on occasion and find themselves suffering from sunburn. If your skin isn’t protected in the Australian summer sun, it could result in sunburn after just 15 minutes of exposure.

Any type of sun exposure can cause permanent damage to your skin, and every instance of sunburn will increase your risk of developing skin cancer. While we always recommend taking sun smart precautions before venturing outdoors, if you do happen to get sunburned there are a few important points to remember:

Cool Down the Area

Sunburn should be treated similarly to a burn, with cool water and a cold compress. Never use ice directly on the area, instead have a quick, cold shower to calm your skin. To begin with, avoid using any chemicals and products which might cause your skin to become even more irritated. If you notice your skin is burning, it is best to go inside or under the shade before it gets any worse. Sunburn is normally obvious by skin which turns red within a few hours, but the process can last for a few days.

Let it Heal

As difficult as it may be, the best remedy for sunburn is allowing it to heal naturally. Stay out of the sun and don’t pick the skin, giving your body time to repair itself. Peeling skin is a normal reaction, and is your body’s way of ridding itself of the damage. Don’t pop any blisters as this could lead to infection, and wear loose, breathable clothing to prevent rubbing.

Get Hydrated

Sunburn can be accompanied by dehydration as when you are burnt the body draws additional fluid to where it is needed. This takes away from the functioning of the rest of your body and the fluid needs to be replaced. Remember to keep yourself hydrated by drinking extra water and use electrolytes if required. This should be done both straight away, and while the skin heals.

What Can Help

If your sunburn is painful, an anti inflammatory such as ibuprofen can help, or try an antiseptic cream which is available from a chemist. Before using these types of treatments, it is important to seek advice from a medical professional as they may cause allergic reactions. It might be a few days before your skin has settled enough to use a moisturiser, but an after sun spray will be gentler than a lotion as there is no rubbing required. Look for products which contain aloe vera, as the “burn plant” has been known to provide relief for mild burns.

When to see a doctor

Sunburn isn’t always something you should ignore, as severe sunburn should be examined by a medical professional. Symptoms to look out for include blistering, headaches, vomiting, extreme pain, nausea and dizziness. Keep your skin in check by having regular skin and mole checks, as any exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer.
Contact My Skin Centre today to book your appointment, we have 9 convenient locations throughout Perth and Western Australia.