What is Sunburn?

A sunburn is a burn to living tissue such as skin produced by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, commonly from the sun’s rays. Exposure of the skin to lesser amounts of UV will often produce a suntan. Usual mild Sunburn can be life-threatening and is a leading cause of skin cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Sunburn?

Symptoms in humans and animals are:

  • Red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch
  • General fatigue.
  • Mild dizziness.

What are the Causes of Sunburn?

The sun has two types of ultraviolet radiation important in a discussion of damaging effects to the skin. The first type, UVA radiation generally only tans skins but it is reported now that it can also take part in premature aging and wrinkling. UVB rays cause sunburn and the potential for skin cancer. You can also become burnt from reflected sunlight- from sand, water, or snow. Certain drugs can intensify the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Sunburn?

At-home care will alleviate many of the symptoms of sunburn, but no treatment can undo the damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. Few cases of sunburn require medical care. If the burn is very painful or widespread, a doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids to relieve the discomfort. Treatment for extremely severe cases of sunburn (those involving extensive blistering, dehydration, or fever) usually requires bed rest and possibly hospitalisation.

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Sunburn

Herbal Therapies: Lotions, poultices, and compresses containing calendula (Calendula officinalis) will reduce inflammation. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) may be used on exposed new skin after peeling or blistering, to help prevent infection. Preparations containing aloe (Aloe barbadensis) are excellent for relieving sunburn. Aromatherapy: A gentle massage using lavender essential oil diluted in a carrier oil. See our section on Aromatherapy for more details. Homeopathy: Cantharis taken orally every three to four hours for up to two days is recommended for relieving pain and helping to heal blisters.