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While there are no quick sunburn cures, there are some effective home treatments for sunburn. For many people, cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers do a fine job of addressing sunburn pain. Using moisturizer can also help with peeling. Some commercials sunburn cures may contain irritating ingredients, so it is a good idea to read labels and avoid products that contain alcohol or benzocaine, as these can irritate sunburn. Cases of severe sunburn should be treated by a health care professional.
The pain of sunburn is usually of primary concern to sufferers. Cool compresses and baths are popular sunburn cures, not only because they are effective at reducing pain, but also because they are generally free and non-irritating. People with a bad sunburn should use oral pain relievers rather than topical creams and sprays. Many doctors believe that these creams and sprays are not particularly effective and may make matters worse. Both aspirin and ibuprofen can be good choices for reducing sunburn pain. However, aspirin should not be given to children or teenagers because of its link to the rare but deadly Reye's syndrome.
Using a moisturizer on sunburned skin can offer some relief and reduce peeling. To avoid irritating the sunburn further, sunburn sufferers should use unscented moisturizer formulated for sensitive skin. If the skin is blistered, the sunburned individual should resist the urge to pop them. Instead, blisters should be covered with a light dressing if necessary and otherwise left alone, as breaking a blister can increase healing time. If a large portion of the sunburned person's body is covered with blisters, the person should seek medical attention right away. Other indications that a sunburn is severe enough to require professional medical attention include severe pain, a high fever, and a burn's failure to respond to standard sunburn cures after a few days of treatment.
Sunburns are damaging to the skin and can increase the risk of sun cancer and contribute to premature aging. Sunburn cures do not eliminate or reverse this damage. Sunburn prevention includes wearing a high SPF sunscreen on a daily basis and reapplying it often during the day. Avoiding the peak sun hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses, can also help prevent sunburn. People who want to look like they've been out in the sun should use self tanners and bronzers rather than risking their health by not using appropriate sun protection.