Sunburns – How to Limit the Damage

Okay…… so you just forgot, or got caught out longer than you meant to. Or, in the case of my 15-year old son, maybe you missed a big spot. Now what?

Can you help a sunburn to heal faster? To some extent yes. Here are some tricks.

  • Start taking your NSAID of choice (like ibuprofen) right away – the anti-inflammatory effect will limit the discomfort and the redness.
  • Ice it if it feels hot!
  • You must cover it up – sunscreens are not adequate in this situation.
  • Use over-the-counter hydrocortisone on it 3-4 times a day for 3 days – also an anti-inflammatory.
  • If you have Biafine (prescription cream anti-inflammatory), use that too.
  • After the first 3 days, just protect it from all sun (clothing again) and lube with a lot of moisturizer.
Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
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