Skin CareBeautyDisease

What Happens When You Get Sunburned

Exactly what happens when you get sunburned. Sunburns are caused by UV rays from the sun or UV light from artificial sources. Sunburns of the first and second degree are frequently treatable at home.

Third-degree sunburns are extremely rare, but they require immediate medical attention. A sunburn can cause skin cancer and premature ageing.

By taking precautions to protect your skin, you can reduce your chances of getting sunburned.

What Is Sunburn?

Sunburn occurs when the skin is overexposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Artificial UV light, such as that emitted by tanning beds, can potentially cause skin burns. A sun burn is a skin burn caused by radiation.

Multiple sunburns can cause skin cancer and premature ageing. In the United States, skin cancer is the most frequent type of cancer.

By taking precautions to protect your skin, you can reduce your chances of getting sunburned. When you spend any length of time outside, it’s critical to be aware of your sun exposure.

What Are The Types Of Sunburn?

The severity of skin damage determines how sunburns are classified. The following are the two most prevalent types of sunburn:

  • Sunburn of the first degree causes damage to the outer layer of your skin. This normally recovers in a few days to a week on its own.
  • 2nd degree burn from sun causes damage to the skin’s inner layer (dermis). This could result in blisters. It may take weeks for the wound to heal, and medical attention may be required.

People may receive a third-degree sunburn in extremely uncommon situations. This type of sunburn is caused by:

  • All layers of your skin are severely damaged, including the fat layer beneath the epidermis.
  • Nerve endings may be destroyed.
  • This condition necessitates immediate medical attention.

A third-degree sunburn is rare when you take medication that makes you more sensitive to UV rays. It could also happen if you sleep for several hours in the sun near the equator. However, the majority of third-degree burns are caused by a chemical burn or a fire.

How Common Is Sunburn?

Sunburns are a common occurrence. According to the 2015 National Health Interview Survey, one out of every three persons in the United States had at least one sunburn in 2015.

Sunburns are more common among children and teenagers. Every year, half to three-quarters of youngsters under the age of 18 get sunburned.

In 2015, more than half of adults aged 18 to 29 said they had one or more sunburns.

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What Causes Sunburn?

Sunburn is caused by UVA and UVB radiation, which are two types of ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. Both types of radiation can cause skin damage.

The following factors increase your chances of obtaining a sunburn:

  • How much time do you spend in the sun?
  • Antibiotics like doxycycline and Bactrim, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), retinoids, and cardiac medications like diuretics are among the prescriptions you use.
  • UV radiation intensity is influenced by the time of day, cloud cover, altitude, and proximity to the equator.
  • Depending on where you are in the world, ozone depletion is a problem.
  • Although anyone can acquire a sunburn, skin type and pigmentation, as well as tanning, have a role.

What Are The Symptoms Of Sunburn or What Happens When you Get Sunburned

The severity of your sunburn will determine the symptoms you experience. Among the signs and symptoms are:

First degree sunburn symptoms

  • Redness.
  • The skin is heated or tight.
  • Tenderness or pain.
  • Blistering.
  • Swelling.
  • Skin that is peeling (after several days).

You may also encounter:

  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.

2nd Degree Burn From Sun symptoms

  • Skin that is extremely red.
  • Swelling and blistering over a broader area
  • Skin that appears to be wet.
  • Pain.
  • Within the burn, there is a white discoloration.

You may also suffer the following signs and symptoms of heat illness:

  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Breathing quickly.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea.
  • Shivers.

Third degree sunburn symptoms

  • Burn with a leathery appearance.
  • Skin that is numb.
  • Skin that is white or drab in hue.
  • All of the symptoms of systemic heat disease, including shock and/or heat stroke, are listed above.
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How Is A Sunburn Diagnosed?

The severity of your sunburn can be determined by your healthcare provider. They consider the size of the sunburned area, the type of sunburn, and your symptoms. Then they’ll be able to suggest the best course of action.

How Is Sunburn Treated?

Sunburns usually heal within a few days to a week on their own. Your provider may give you rehydrating fluids if you have severe blistering or dehydration.

A skin graft may be required if you have a third-degree sunburn. A surgeon removes dead skin and replaces it with healthy skin taken from other parts of your body.

Read Also: 12 Natural Beauty Tips For Healthy Skin

These burns can take weeks or even months to heal, and they can also cause serious problems.

Can We Treat Sunburn At Home?

The majority of first and second degree sunburns can be treated at home. You can take the following steps:

  • While your sunburned skin heals, keep it covered, especially when you’re outside.
  • To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water.
  • Allow blisters to cure on their own.
  • Also, don’t scrape the skin; let it fall off naturally.
  • Take a refreshing bath or shower.
  • Soothe painful skin by taking a bath with oatmeal or baking soda.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve discomfort.
  • Hydrocortisone cream, aloe vera gel, or petrolatum jelly are examples of topical cooling and moisturizing gels, creams, and ointments.

How Can We Reduce Risk Of Sunburn?

You can avoid being sunburned and reduce your chances of getting sun damage. You can take the following steps:

  • Every day, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself from both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • When you’re outside, reapply every 90 minutes, and more frequently if you’ve been swimming or sweating.
  • Sunbathing and tanning beds should be avoided.
  • When you’re taking drugs that make your skin more sensitive, keep an eye on your sun exposure.
  • Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are greatest, limit your sun exposure.
  • Annual skin cancer screenings are recommended by a dermatologist.
  • Sunglasses that block UV radiation should be worn.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide-brimmed hats to protect yourself.

Other Factors That Put At Higher Risk?

You’re more likely to become sunburned if you:

  • Light skin, freckles, blue eyes, and red or blonde hair are all desirable features.
  • Live or spend time near the equator or at a high altitude.
  • Play sports or swim in the open air on a regular basis.
  • Spend a lot of time on the water doing things like boating, fishing, and paddle boarding.
  • Regularly tan.
  • Work in the open air.
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Long Term Effects From Sunburn?

Sunburns on a regular basis raise your chance of solar damage. Exposure to damaging UV rays on a regular basis can lead to:

  • Cataracts can develop as a result of eye injury.
  • Precancerous skin lesions are scaly, rough areas on the skin that can lead to skin cancer.
  • Discolored age spots, freckles, red veins, wrinkles, and drooping are all signs of premature skin ageing.
  • Skin cancer, particularly in sun-exposed areas such as the arms, back, ears, cheeks, and legs.
  • Skin malignancies can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from pink scaly areas to localized sores that don’t heal to multicolored lesions that can spread to internal organs.

When Should See Healthcare Provider?

If you’re worried about your sunburn or how it’s healing, go to your doctor. If you have any of the following Sunburn symptoms, seek medical attention right once.

  • Blisters or severe swelling that covers more than 20% of your body (for example, a complete leg, your entire back, or both arms).
  • Chills.
  • Extreme discomfort.
  • A temperature of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Dizziness, dry mouth, weariness, thirst, and decreased urine are all signs of dehydration.
  • Infection symptoms include pus leaking from blisters.
  • Sunburn in a baby under the age of one year.

How Does A Sunburn Lead To Skin Cancer?

The sun’s UV rays harm your skin cells. They can also have an impact on your DNA, which is made up of molecules that contain genetic information.

When your skin is burnt, the blood vessels in your skin widen, causing redness, irritation, and edoema. To repair the damage, your body sends immune cells.

Some skin cells can be restored, but others perish. Others may have irreversible DNA mutations. These effects might cause skin cancer and age your skin.


When UV rays harm your skin, you get a sunburn. Sunburns on a regular basis can cause premature skin ageing and skin cancer. Most sunburns may be treated at home, but more severe burns may require medical attention. Taking precautions to avoid sunburn can dramatically reduce the risk of skin damage and serious repercussions.


Articles with medical material must be used solely for the purpose of providing general information. Such materials should not be used for (self-) diagnosis or treatment of specific illnesses or medical conditions. They cannot, for example, replace a licensed physician’s or pharmacist’s examination, advice, or treatment. The articles will not be used to respond to any specific questions.

People May Ask 3

Q- How long do sunburn effects last?

A- Mild sunburn will last around three days. Sunburn that is moderate lasts about 5 days and is commonly accompanied by peeling skin. Sunburn that is severe can linger for more than a week, and the injured person should seek medical help.

Q- Is it possible to get sick from a sunburn?

A- Your skin gets red and aches when you get a sunburn. Swelling and sunburn blisters might occur if the burn is severe. You may even feel feverish, with chills, nausea, headache, and weakness, as if you have the flu.

Q- What is the definition of sun poisoning?

A- Sun poisoning is a severe kind of sunburn, which happens when the sun’s UV rays irritate your skin. It starts with symptoms that are comparable to sunburn. As a result, it frequently remains undiagnosed, resulting in more severe symptoms and potentially dangerous situations. Sun poisoning is especially common in the summer and in warm climates.

Q- Why do you feel fatigued after getting sunburned?

A- When it’s hot outside, your body cools itself by sending fluid and blood to the surface. This depletes part of your body’s resources, making you feel exhausted. Hydrate before, during, and after a day in the sun to stay energized.

Q- Is Vaseline good for sunburns?

A- Dry bandages may help avoid infection if blisters are present. If your skin isn’t blistering, you can use a moisturizing moisturizer to reduce the pain. Use no butter, Vaseline, or other oil-based products. These can clog pores, preventing heat and sweat from escaping and resulting in illness.

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