Sunburn Treatments Tips

Mild sunburn may be treated by cold soaks applied for ten to twenty minutes two to four times daily. Tap water, milk, or some of the milder preparations described in the Formulary may be used. Soaks can be followed by bland, soothing creams or salves. Nothing will prevent peeling.

Aspirin seems to have a greater effect in treating sunburn than just as a pain-reliever, though some writers feel that this effect is too weak to be of much use. One study showed that four aspirin tablets taken every three hours decreased the redness, pain, and itching of sunburn. Although corroborating research remains elusive, aspirin has been directly applied to the skin for sunburn relief. Five or six tablets, well crushed and blended into two tablespoons of an antacid are gently worked over the skin until the pain subsides.

Severe sunburn should be treated by a physician. Sunburn with blisters is treated as a second degree burn. Creams, lotions or sprays containing cortisone or cortisone derivatives are useful and severe cases may require cortisone medications by mouth or injection. The possibility of secondary infection should be remembered, as with any burn injury.

Medications containing "caines" such as benzocaine, or anti­histamines such as pyribenzamine or diphenhydramine should not be used because they can cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin (see discussion of contact dermatitis). Moreover, they are of doubtful value in the control of pain or itching. The only benzocaine preparations that have been shown to have any effect on sunburned skin are promoted as hemorrhoid products

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