How to Treat or Relieve Pain from a Sunburn

The sun's rays can cause a painful sunburn.
The sun's rays can cause a painful sunburn. (Image: sun image by Bube from

Excessive exposure to the sun's ultra violent rays can damage the outer layer of the skin and cause a host of other problems, such as wrinkles and skin cancer. Sunburn is a common result from spending hours in the hot sun without applying sunscreen. It can take several days or weeks to completely heal from a sunburn. In the meantime, there are ways to treat and relieve painful symptoms.

Things You'll Need

  • Ibuprofen or aspirin
  • Cortisone cream
  • Vinegar
  • Oatmeal

Stop inflammation. Every four to six hours (or as directed) take ibuprofen or aspirin to stop inflammation and soothe the pain caused by sun-damaged skin.

Use topical creams. Soothe burn and itching associated with sunburns with cortisone creams, available from drug stores. Use as directed.

Cool off your skin. Rinse in a cool shower or sit in a cool bath to ease skin inflammation quickly. Add 1 cup of white vinegar or oatmeal to bath water to help calm pain and itching.

Keep a cool towel nearby. Dip a cloth or towel in cold water and apply the cold compress to sunburned areas to relieve pain.

Increase water intake. Keep your body and skin hydrated by upping your intake of water and juices.

Reduce swelling. Sunburned legs can swell and cause additional pain. Elevate legs with pillows to reduce swelling, and keep legs above your heart.

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