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Sunburn is the term for red, sometimes swollen and painful skin. It is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Sunburn can vary from mild to severe. The extent depends on skin type and amount of exposure to the sun. It may take 12 to 24 hours after sun exposure to know the full extent and severity of sunburn, and several days or more for your skin to begin to heal.

To treat sunburn:

Apply cool compresses to sunburned areas.
Soak the sunburned areas in cold waters (showers, baths, lakes) for relief.
Keep the area moist by applying soothing lotion such as aloe vera to sunburned areas. Avoid products containing alcohol, which can further dry out and irritate the skin.
Leave blisters intact. If blisters form, don’t break them. You’ll only slow the healing process and increase the risk of infection. If needed, lightly cover blisters with gauze.

A sunburn can cause a mild fever and a headache. Lie down in a cool, quiet area to relieve the headache. A headache may be caused by dehydration, so drinking fluids may help.

There is little you can do to stop skin from peeling after a sunburn. As part of the healing process it is your body’s way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin. Treat peeling skin gently. While your skin is peeling, continue to use moisturizing cream to help relieve itching.