How to Treat Mild to Severe Sunburns

Video Transcript:

Here’s another daily tip from your friendly local dermatologist.

Okay, let’s just assume that everything happened wrong in your day, and you got a sunburn. What do you do with it? Well, first of all, it kind of depends on how severe it is. So if it’s just a little bit red, and you feel okay, then I would just recommend, first of all, staying out of the sun for the next couple of weeks, we don’t need to make it worse.

Second of all, use gentle cleansers and gentle bathing practices, and pat dry afterwards. And then, I’d recommend getting some aloe vera. The best is right off a plant, you just cut it, you squeeze out the stuff, and you put it on the sunburn, you know, five, six, ten times a day.

I’d also recommend taking an over-the-counter NSAID. Now the NSAIDs are things like Aspirin or Motrin or Aleve, those sorts of things. If you’re allowed to take those, take those every eight hours or so for the first couple of days. That’ll decrease the inflammation. That’ll help you feel better, and it might actually help the sunburn heal more quickly.

Now, if the sunburn is covering you all over, or if you really just feel poorly, feel like you have the flu, you know just that rundown, just don’t feel right thing, in my opinion, I think you should be seen by a provider. Doesn’t have to be a dermatologist. It can be your primary care physician. It can be an urgent care. It can even be the ER if it’s bad enough.

But guys, sometimes really bad sunburns can cause really bad things in you, and you might need a little bit of medical intervention for that. Let’s hope you never get there. But if you do, if you start feeling crummy, please have somebody look at you.

Dr. Reagan Anderson is a local dermatologist from Colorado Springs.