By Dr Anmol Arora ( Sr Homoeopathic Physician )

sun burn

sun burn

Sunburn results from too much sun or sun-equivalent exposure. Almost everyone has been sunburned or will become sunburned at some time. Anyone who visits a beach, goes fishing, works in the yard, or simply is out in the sun can get sunburn. Improper tanning bed use is also a source of sunburn. Although seldom fatal (sun poisoning), sunburn can be disabling and cause quite a bit of discomfort.

Sunburn Causes

Sunburn is literally a burn on your skin. It is a burn from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The consequence of this burn is inflammation of the skin. Injury can start within 30 minutes of exposure.

  • UVA and UVB refer to different wavelengths in the light spectrum. UVB is more damaging to the skin especially for skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB are responsible for photoaging (premature aging of the skin and wrinkles) and sunburn. Tanning beds produce both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Travel to the southern United States, regions close to the equator, and places at high altitudes all offer the unwary visitor an opportunity to be injured by sunburn.
  • Certain light-skinned and fair-haired people are at greater risk of sunburn injury.
  • Prior recent sun exposure and prior skin injury are risks for sunburn, even in limited exposure to the sun. However, normal limited exposure to UV radiation produces beneficial vitamin D in the skin.

Sunburn Symptoms

  • Mild and uncomplicated cases of sunburn usually result in minor skin redness and irritation. Untreated and with enough exposure, you can experience shock (poor circulation to vital organs) and even death (sun poisoning). Sufficient exposure can become remarkably painful.
  • Initially, your skin turns red about 2-6 hours after exposure and feels irritated. The peak effects are noted at 12-24 hours.
  • More severe cases  (sun poisoning), such as those experienced by rafters (Cuban and other island peoples fleeing their countries on homemade rafts) are complicated by severe skin burning and blistering, massive fluid loss (dehydration), electrolyte imbalance, and infection.
  • Other common symptoms include:
    • Chills
    • Fever
    • Nausea or vomiting or both
    • Flulike symptoms
    • Blistering – May range from a very fine blister that is only found when you begin to “peel” to very large water-filled blisters with red, tender, raw skin underneath
    • Skin loss – About 4-7 days after exposure

Self-Care at Home

Home care starts before a sunburn. If you are prepared before going out in the sun, you probably won’t need these tips and techniques.

  • Immediate self-care is aimed at stopping the UV radiation.
    • Get out of the sun
    • Cover exposed skin
    • Get out of the tanning bed
  • Relief of the discomfort becomes important.
    • For mild sunburn, cool compresses with equal parts of milk and water may suffice.
    • Cool (not ice cold) baths may help. Avoid bath salts, oils, and perfumes because these may produce sensitivity reactions. Avoid scrubbing the skin or shaving the skin. Use soft towels to gently dry yourself. Don’t rub. Use a light, fragrance-free skin moisturizer.
    • Avoid lotions that contain topical anesthetic medications because you can become sensitized and then allergic to that medicine.
    • Obviously, stay out of the sun while you are sunburned


The best prevention is to avoid the sun. This is often not practical or desired many times.

  • Other, more practical strategies include wearing wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants.
  • If this is not possible, a variety of sun-blocking agents are available for use. Some are just for the lips and face. Others are for more general-purpose use. Pay attention to the sun protection factor (SPF) and whether or not PABA is in the product. PABA should be avoided in children younger than 6 months because it can cause skin irritation.
    • The higher the SPF number, the more protection the sun-blocking agent may have. SPF is actually a ratio of the time it takes to produce a skin reaction on protected and unprotected skin. Thus, a 30 SPF sunscreen would in theory allow you to be exposed 30 times longer than with no sunscreen. However, this is usually not true in practice.
    • People seldom apply enough sunscreen or rarely reapply it. Sunscreen should be applied in generous amounts in layers and reapplied after being exposed. Activities such as sweating and swimming degrade its effectiveness. Sunscreens are not waterproof. The US Food and Drug Administration is banning what it calls misleading labeling on sunscreens. The use of the words sunblock, waterproof, and all day protection will no longer be used.
  • Mind-altering drugs (including alcohol) can diminish your awareness of getting sunburned and should be avoided. Short and sequential exposure times can lead to skin pigment changes, which most of us call tanning. This can lead to increased sun tolerance but can also lead to long-term problems such as skin cancer. Getting a tan is often a primary reason people go out in the sun with maximum skin exposed in the first place. Sunburn is most common in children and younger adults.


Prevention is better then cure , Use of sunscreen lotion SPF 30 is an appropriate to be used before exposure to sun rays , medicines like Apis 1M , Glonoine 30 , Nat Mur 1M, Bell30  have found to be gold standard remedies in sun burn cases.


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