Dealing With Sunburn? Here're 7 Things You Should Avoid While Treating It

Sunburn is a common skin condition that occurs when your skin is overexposed to the harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Jul 16, 2023 10:00 IST
Dealing With Sunburn? Here're 7 Things You Should Avoid While Treating It

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Sunburn is a common skin condition that occurs when your skin is overexposed to the harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. It is characterised by redness, pain, and in severe cases, blistering and peeling. Sunburn can be a painful and uncomfortable experience, but with proper care and treatment, you can alleviate the symptoms and promote healing. However, there are certain things you should avoid when treating sunburn to prevent further damage and promote a faster recovery.

How Sunburn Occurs?

Sunburn occurs when your skin is exposed to excessive UV radiation. Various types of ultraviolet (UV) rays, such as UVA and UVB rays, are emitted by the sun. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are primarily responsible for premature ageing, while UVB rays cause the majority of sunburns by damaging the outer layers of the skin.

According to a DermNet report, excessive sunlight exposure can cause the skin to become painful and experience a burning sensation. The report further indicated that sunburn can result in inflammation, leading to rashes and swelling. Furthermore, repeated instances of sunburn over time can contribute to premature ageing and elevated susceptibility to skin cancer.


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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), before heading outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 to effectively block both UVA and UVB rays. Ensure that you apply a generous and even layer to all exposed areas of your skin. Don't overlook difficult-to-reach areas such as your back, and seek assistance if needed. Keep in mind that sunscreen is most effective when used in conjunction with other protective measures.

Things You Should Avoid When Treating A Sunburn

But if you get a sunburn, treat it gently and avoid the following things.

Avoid Further Sun Exposure

Once you have a sunburn, it is crucial to protect your damaged skin from further exposure to the sun. Sunburned skin is already sensitive and vulnerable to more damage. So, stay indoors or seek shade until your skin has healed completely.


Don't Pop or Pick Blisters

If your sunburn results in blisters, it is important to resist the temptation to pop or pick them. Blisters serve as a protective barrier and popping them can increase the risk of infection. Allow the blisters to heal naturally and keep them clean and dry.

Avoid Harsh Skin Products

When treating sunburn, avoid using harsh skin products, such as exfoliants, scrubs, or products containing alcohol. Instead, opt for gentle, soothing products that contain aloe vera or hydrocortisone to help calm the inflammation.

Don't Apply Ice Directly To The Skin


While it may be tempting to apply ice to cool down your sunburned skin, it is important to avoid direct contact between ice and your skin. Ice can cause further damage and potentially worsen the burn. Instead, wrap ice packs in a thin towel or cloth and gently apply them to the affected area for short periods to provide relief.

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Avoid Tight or Abrasive Clothing

Since sunburned skin is delicate and sensitive, you should avoid wearing tight or abrasive clothing that can further irritate your skin and cause discomfort. Choose loose-fitting, breathable materials like cotton to reduce friction and enable proper ventilation for your skin.

Don't Use Petroleum-Based Products

While moisturising your sunburned skin is essential for healing, avoid petroleum-based products, such as petroleum jelly. These can trap heat and prevent the skin from cooling down properly. Instead, opt for moisturisers that contain aloe vera or natural oils to soothe and hydrate your skin.

Avoid Hot Showers or Baths

Taking hot showers or baths can exacerbate the pain and dryness associated with sunburn. You should stick to lukewarm or cool water to soothe your skin and avoid further irritation. Also, refrain from using harsh soaps or shower gels that can strip your skin of its natural oils.


If your skin gets sunburned, it's important to take good care of it. This can help make you feel better, help your skin heal, and prevent long-lasting problems. If your sunburn is really bad or if you have other symptoms like fever, chills, or really bad pain, it's a good idea to see a doctor. They can check how bad it is and give you treatment to help you feel better.

Image Credits: freepik