What Should You Do to Treat Sunburns?

If we forget to use sunscreen and our exposure to direct sunlight is prolonged, there’s a risk of burns that can range from mild to severe.
What Should You Do to Treat Sunburns?

Last update: 09 March, 2019

To properly treat sunburns, you must know what the primary measures are and the different types of burns that exist. Timely treatment will reduce the discomfort and healing time.

Sunburns can be characterized as general or local. When the burn has a large extension and practically covers the entire skin, it’s a general sunburn. Local sunburns are located only at a specific point of the skin.

They receive the generic name of “sunstroke” although not all sunburns involve sunstroke. When a person has a very high fever and seizures, then they have a sunstroke. Therefore, it’s best not to generalize any sunburn as a sunstroke and refer to them as “injuries” instead.

These lesions are produced on the skin by prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays. The intensity of these lesions depends not only on the duration of sun exposure, but also on the sensitivity of the exposed skin. Babies and elderly adults have the most sensitive skin.

What Should You Do to Treat Sunburns?

Is there an ideal time for sunbathing?

The most suitable time for sunbathing is from 7am-10am. If you go at a later time, then it’s harmful because the impact of the sunlight is stronger. If you exceed the number of hours of exposure, then erythema, or redness of the skin, occurs.

In this sense, people with very pale skin shouldn’t expose themselves to the sun for long and prolonged periods. And although dark skin is more resistant, it shouldn’t be neglected. It’s always necessary to use sunscreen.

Another method of protection is to prepare this lotion with the following ingredients:

  • 20 grams of lanolin
  • 30 grams of Vaseline
  • 1 gram of quinine sulfate

Types of burns and treatment

First degree

These are more intense cases, in which the exposed skin can show characteristics of a first degree burn. However, redness disappears in the course of 24–48 hours, and a dark pigmentation occurs that will persist for a few days or weeks.

In general, treating first degree burns require an appropriate amount of water intake, as well as applying ointments, moisturizing lotions and after-sun products. Of course, it’s also best to wear cotton clothes and fabrics that, when rubbing the skin, don’t prevent you from breathing.

Second and third degree

When “flushing” occurs, the burn may be second or third degree. The flushing occurs with high fever and loss of consciousness, among other symptoms. In these cases, medical attention is essential.

While waiting for medical attention, you should be in a cool place and lying comfortably in an extension chair. Once evaluated by the doctor, they’ll proceed to apply cold wet wraps on your head, neck, armpits and chest in order to lower your skin temperature.

If you regain consciousness, you can take a few sips of cold water. On the other hand, if you’ve sweat a lot, add ordinary kitchen salt in the water until it dissolves. The salt compensates for the large amount of salt that the body loses because of sweating

The doctor may suggest that you take a pill of 0.30 grams of quinine bromohydrate with a little water. Quinine applications help heal sunburns, since they attack inflammation and pain.

Other recommendations to help treat sunburns

You can also use aloe vera crystal to help treat sunburns, which can be obtained by cutting one of its leaves directly from the plant. The layer that covers it is removed from the leaf to get to the pulp. The pulp must be washed until the iodine is completely removed.

Once the pulp has been washed, you can apply the aloe crystal to the burned area. It’s necessary to let it dry and repeat this process several times a day until the inflammation subsides.

A good option to treat sunburns is to place a compress of previously boiled water with a 0.5% soda salicylate solution to the burn. Talc, starch or zinc oxide can be added.

What Should You Do to Treat Sunburns?

Bandages soaked in salt water mixed with witch hazel, baking soda and curdled milk compresses are also used to treat sunburns. The latter quickly relieves the burning of the skin.

You must be aware that when exposing your skin to the sun it’s important to take precautions, since an excess of sun exposure can have disastrous and irreversible consequences. We must also be very careful with our children’s skin care. Enjoy summer in a healthy way.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.