Treatment depends on how bad the sunburn is. The goal is to manage symptoms and heal the skin. Choices are:
- Staying out of the sun while the skin heals
- Supportive care, such as cool compresses
- Medicines, such as:
- Pain relievers
- Creams to put on the skin to ease symptoms and help with healing
To lower the risk of sunburn:
- Avoid spending too much time in the sun.
- Stay out of the sun during peak hours. This is between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a hat with a broad brim.
- Wear sunglasses that have 99% or 100% UV absorption.
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- Use a protective lip balm.
- Do not use indoor tanning devices.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services
All rights reserved.
American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org
Skin Cancer Foundation https://www.skincancer.org
Canadian Dermatology Association https://dermatology.ca
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Holman, D; Ding, H. Prevalence of sun protection use and sunburn and association of demographic and behaviorial characteristics with sunburn among US adults. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(5):561-568.
Minor burns. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/minor-burns. Accessed January 5, 2021.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs. Accessed January 5, 2021.