Sunburns- Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

The onset of summer brings relief from the pile of clothes that had to be worn every day in the winter, but this relief is often marred by problems such as heat rash, and sunburn.

Sunburn is one of the most painful and irritating skin problems. The skin becomes red, feels hot to touch and even pains at times. Those who have very sensitive skin may encounter such problems when exposed to ultraviolet rays for a very long time. It can also happen when exposed to an artificial source of sun rays like sunlamps etc.

Those who often encounter such problems of sunburn are at a huge risk of various other skin diseases that can create problems in future. Some of these diseases include dry skin, dark spots, skin cancer, and rough and itchy spots. If at an initial stage, such sunburns can be treated with simple home remedies. However, it may take several days for such burns to fade away completely.

Symptoms of Sunburns

To treat the rashes of sunburn on time, it is really important to understand the initial symptoms:

  1. Redness on skin
  2. When the skin starts feeling hot while touching
  3. Itching, pain, and dryness
  4. Swelling on the affected area
  5. Blisters which may break at any point of time
  6. Headache, dizziness and even nausea. This happens only if sunburns get severe.

Any part of the body exposed to sun rays is vulnerable to sunburn. It can even include those parts of the body which are covered with loose clothing allowing ultraviolet rays to enter the body. Even your eyes which are always exposed to sun rays can be affected by sunburn causing itching and burning sensation. It can make your eyes watery and gritty making it uncomfortable for you. All these symptoms except the last one usually appear within a few hours of sunburn. However, it may take at least one full day to understand the extent of sunburn.

Causes of Sunburns

Overexposure to UV rays leads to sunburns. Ultraviolet rays are really harmful to human skin and the wavelength of UV rays is way too short for humans to see them.

There are two types of UV rays, UVA rays which are responsible for skin aging, and UVB rays which are responsible for sunburn and other skin related issues. Also, there are chances that one can face such problems during cool and hazy days, as ultraviolet rays are much likely to pass through the clouds. Such rays on cool and hazy days have the same side effects as rays on any other sunny day.

Remedies to cure Sunburns at home

If the sunburn is in an initial stage and has not done much harm to your body, then it can always be cured by some of the home remedies. Here are the some home remedies that can help you this summer to overcome the side effects of sunburn.

1. Cold Compress

Try placing a cool compress on the affected area. It will provide immediate relief from pain and itching. You can always add a solution to cure the sunburn to cool compress for better results. It will provide you comfort along with soothing your burning skin.

2. Cold Shower

Try taking a cool shower multiple times in a day to cool down the affected area.

3. Bath therapies

There are various natural bathe therapies that can help to soothe the skin in a much better way. Some of these therapies are as follows:

  • While taking shower you can add one cup of apple cider vinegar, it will help to balance out the pH level of the affected area. It will fasten the healing process and will provide instant relief from pain.
  • Try to soak the affected body part in an oatmeal bath, this natural remedy is specifically for itchy and burnt skin.
  • You can add lavender or chamomile oil to the bathtub. It will help to soothe pain and irritation.
  • Adding 2 cups of baking soda to the water can also help in easing out irritation and reducing the redness on the skin.
  • If your skin has got dry because of sunburn, try to avoid soap and perfumes. It can lead to more dryness and itchiness.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil can directly be applied to the affected part of your body.

5. Aloe vera

Aloe Vera lotion will help to soothe down the pain and will help to moisturize the skin. It will also help to bring down pain and discomfort.

6. Tea

  • Try applying freshly brewed tea after cooling it down. The acid present in the black tea will help to extract heat from the burnt area and will help to restore the pH balance of the skin back.
  • If your eyes have burnt, then try keeping tea bags soaked in cold water to your sunburnt eyelids. It will soothe your eyes and will provide you comfort and ease.

7. Petroleum Jelly

You can also apply petroleum jelly on your lips to keep them moisturized to lower down the effect of the burn.

8. Coconut oil

It is an amazing skin moisturizer, however, some people confuse it with sunscreen. If you apply coconut oil while going out it will not protect you from harmful ultraviolet rays.

9. Cold Milk

You can also apply mildly cold milk, however, do not apply extremely cold milk as it can have an adverse effect on your burnt skin. The layer of milk will help to create a protein layer around the affected area that will help to ease down the discomfort caused by sunburn.

11. Vitamin E

Try using vitamin E oil on the affected skin. It works as an anti-oxidant helping to decrease the effects of inflammation. You can also rub the same on peeling skin.

12. Potatoes

Using boiled potatoes to dress up the affected area can also help to heal the skin quickly. Starch in potatoes helps to extract heat from the affected area. It also helps to reduce the pain and speed up the healing process.

13. Cornstarch

Applying the paste made from cornstarch can also help to lower down the pain.

In case the skin has started peeling off because of a bad sunburn, then you must take care of the same. Do not try to peel off the skin, else the situation will get worse instead of healing.

In the case of blisters, don’t try anything at home and rush to the doctor immediately. It is the case of severe sunburn that can get even worse if not taken care of properly on time. Try to keep it covered at all times to prevent the same from tearing. Do not even touch these blisters, and leave them alone to heal. In case the doctor has given you some medication to apply to them, make sure you do that with clean and washed hands.

When is it the right time to see a doctor?

If sunburns are not getting healed for a long time even after using the home remedies mentioned above, you must visit a doctor at the earliest.

  • The sunburns have turned into blisters and have covered a large part of your body.
  • If it is accompanied by viral fever, pain, nausea, headache, and chills.
  • If it is taking more than three days to heal on its own.
  • If there is a constant increase in pain and tenderness in the affected area.
  • The affected part of the body has swollen.
  • If blisters have drained.


Now that you know the home remedies that can help you to heal sunburnt skin, you must be able to figure out the symptoms in the initial stage to start treatment as soon as possible. However, as the saying goes, “Prevention is always better than cure”, it is recommended using a sunscreen with higher SPF while going out to avoid such problems. Also, keep yourself covered as much as you can.


Also recommended

10 Proven Health Benefits for Aloe Vera

15 Easily Available Vitamin E Foods

14 Amazing Benefits of Vitamin E Oil


I define myself as a voracious reader and an avid writer. I firmly believe that reading non-fiction has played a vital role in honing my writing skills. And when I am not writing, you will find me in trekking Himalayas/ Sahyadris or on a backpacking trip exploring the unexplored places.

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