Sunburn

The skin cells are damaged by UV rays if you stay too long in the sun or don't wear protection.

Overview

The skin cells are damaged by UV rays if you stay too long in the sun or don't wear protection. The exposed areas turn red, and blisters can form in extreme cases. The skin can be cooled with wet compresses and given moisture by applying creams and sprays against sunburn.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Initially, itching and slight pain
  • After around 6 to 8 hours, the damaged skin swells and turns red (at most after 12 to 24 hours)

Other symptoms

  • After a while, the dead skin scales off (“peeling”)
  • Blisters can form in very severe cases
  • If large areas of skin are affected, fever and dizziness can occur

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Too much and too long exposure to the sun
  • Insufficient protection against sunburn (sunscreen, clothes, etc.)
  • Children and light-skinned people are affected more seriously (in particular skin types 1 and 2)

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Examination of the skin of the whole body
  • Blood test
Possible therapies
  • Careful cooling of the affected areas of skin
  • Pricking of blisters
  • Treating the pricked blisters with ointment/foam bandages
  • Medical monitoring is needed if the circulation has been affected

What can I do myself?

  • Avoid direct sunlight until the skin has healed
  • Wet compresses, e.g. towels soaked in water
  • Use sunburn spray or cream from the pharmacy
  • Let the dead skin peel by itself, don't pull it off

Prevention

  • Avoid long exposure to direct sunlight, in particular between 11:00 and 15:00
  • Apply protection according to your skin type (sunscreen, clothes, etc.)

When to see a doctor?

  • Fluid-filled blisters form on the sunburnt skin
  • Non-specific symptoms such as fever or dizziness occur at the same time

Synonyms

sunburn, dermatis solaris, solar dermatitis, erythema solare

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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