Sunburn is a condition of the skin that appears few hours after exposure to the sun. The affected part of the skin becomes red, painful and hot to touch. Irritation and dryness of tissue is responsible for the resultant itch.
When our body is exposed to UVA and UVB rays of the sun, it produces melanin. Melanin is a pigment which gives color to the skin. It also protects our skin from bad effects of sun rays to limited extent. Getting suntan is body’s way of protecting itself from sunburn. But when body is exposed to the sun for long time, it may cause sunburn.
Symptoms of Itching from Sunburn
The affected skin appears red. It is painful and hot to touch. Stinging pain can be experienced. Affected skin may become dry. Due to dryness and irritation, itching occurs. Person becomes uncomfortable due to persistent itch. Sometimes it is associated with blister formation in which secondary infection may set in. This may cause fever, pain, swelling and oozing in affected area.
Treatment and Prevention
- Patient should move to shaded area, as soon as he suspects the signs of sunburn.
- Take shower with cold water and dry pat the affected area.
- Do not rub the affected area with towel. Rubbing will aggravate the symptoms and may cause further damage to the skin.
- Do not use exfoliating body wash or abrasive soap.
- Apply cold compresses to the affected skin. This will relieve pain and itching to some extent.
- Apply soothing lotion to reduce itching.
- Apply moisturizer on the affected area as well as whole body. Skin loses its moisture through evaporation when exposed to the sun.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after sun exposure to keep body well hydrated.
- Do not break the blisters if they are formed.Cover them lightly with gauze. Apply anti-bacterial cream on broken blisters to prevent secondary infection.
- Affected area may peel off after few days. Do not pull off the peeled skin. Keep applying moisturizer during peeling phase.
- Apply sunscreen of SPF 25 to 30 before going out in the sun. You must apply sunscreen even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen liberally every two hours.
- Sun rays are strong during 10 am. to 4 pm. Avoid being in the sun during this period. If it is unavoidable then cover yourself with suitable clothing.Try to remain in shaded areas.
- Consult the doctor if necessary.