How to Treat Blistered and Peeling Skin Due to Sunburn

Sitting out in the sun can be relaxing, but if you get sunburned and it leads to blistered and peeling skin, it can be uncomfortable and painful. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light can cause cellular damage, early wrinkling, age spots, actinic keratoses and skin cancer. Exposure to the artificial sunlight used in tanning salons is just as harmful. It is best to take preventative methods to avoid getting sunburned. If you do get sunburned, however, there are a few things you can do to treat blistered and peeling skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe vera
  • 1 percent hydrocortisone cream (optional)
  • Loose-fitting clothing
  • Fluids


    • 1

      Take frequent cold showers or baths before the skin blisters.

    • 2

      Apply aloe vera to sunburned areas frequently. Topical steroids such as 1 percent hydrocortisone cream may also help with sunburn pain and swelling.

    • 3

      Cool your bedroom as much as you can and prepare for a potentially sleepless night. Take an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

    • 4

      Drink plenty of fluids and wear loose-fitting clothing.

    • 5

      Avoid popping blisters if they form. They will eventually pop on their own and peeling will start.

    • 6

      Try soaking in an oatmeal/essential oil bath and remember to keep the water cold or at most lukewarm.

    • 7

      Stay out of the sun, and if you must step out even for a short period of time apply liberal amounts of sunscreen all over

Tips & Warnings

  • Even after the peeling stops and your bad sunburn is just a memory, the new skin will be particularly vulnerable to UVA or UVB light. Thus, make sure you apply sunscreen any time you are out in the sun.
  • Do not use 1 percent hydrocortisone cream on children younger than 2 unless a doctor tells you to.
  • If your sunburn is accompanied by a high fever or severe pain, blisters cover a larger portion of your body or the sunburn doesn't start to improve within a few days, see your doctor.
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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images

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