|First Degree Burn (Superficial Burn)|
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- Being exposed to the sun
- Having light skin color
- Taking certain medications that may increase your sensitivity to the sun, such as, antibiotics, diuretics, and birth control pills
- Living in certain areas, such as southern United States
When to Call Your Doctor
- Large areas of blistering
- Extreme pain
- Headache or confusion
- Lightheadedness or vision changes
- Severe swelling
Signs of infection, such as:
- Having open blisters that are draining pus
- Having areas of redness or red streaks spreading or moving away from open blisters
- Apply a cool compress to soothe raw, hot skin.
- Take over-the-counter pain reliever if advised by your doctor.
- Take oral or topical corticosteroids if advised by your doctor. These may shorten the course of pain and inflammation. Topical steroids may not relieve skin redness.
- Take prescription antibiotics if an infection develops.
- Be extra careful to protect skin after it peels. The skin is very sensitive after peeling.
- Avoid strong, direct sunlight.
- Plan outdoor activities early or late in the day to avoid peak sunlight hours between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
- Choose a sunscreen, sunblock, or special sunblock clothes with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. It should filter out both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
- Apply sunscreen liberally, thoroughly, and frequently to all exposed skin. Do not forget your lips.
- Wear protective, tightly woven clothing, as well as a broad-rimmed hat and sunglasses.
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
Skin Cancer Foundation http://www.skincancer.org
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Faurschou A, Wulf HC. Topical corticosteroids in the treatment of acute sunburn: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Arch Dermatol. 2008;144(5):620-4.
Han A, Maibach HI. Management of acute sunburn. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2004;5:39-47.
Major burns. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 19, 2014. Accessed January 13, 2015.
Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, et al. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child. 2006;91:131-8.
Sies H, Stahl W. Nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight. Annu Rev Nutr. 2004:24:173-200.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens. Accessed January 13, 2015.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 10/20/2014 -