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How to Treat Itchy Skin From a Sunburn

author image Marcy Brinkley
Marcy Brinkley has been writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Chicken Soup for the Soul," "Texas Health Law Reporter" and the "State Bar of Texas Health Law Section Report." Her degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; a Master of Business Administration; and a Doctor of Jurisprudence.
How to Treat Itchy Skin From a Sunburn
A girl is applying sun tan lotion. Photo Credit Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images

Sunburns can occur after excessive exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or a tanning bed. Symptoms may not appear until several hours later. Superficial sunburns are red, itchy and tender, while second-degree burns begin to form blisters within the first 24 hours after exposure. Severe sunburns may cause permanent skin damage that develops into skin cancer later in life, according to MayoClinic.com. At-home treatments are usually effective for sunburns, but patients should be alert to the possibility of skin infections developing.

Step 1

Apply cold compresses or take a cool shower to reduce some symptoms of sunburn.

Step 2

Examine your skin to see if blisters have formed.

Step 3

Apply moisturizing lotion or aloe vera to intact skin. Cover blisters with a light bandage or gauze dressing.

Step 4

Take over-the-counter diphenhydramine for itching. Do not drive if this medication makes you drowsy.

Step 5

Avoid scratching the skin. If open areas form, apply antibiotic cream and cover them.

Step 6

Apply moisturizing lotion or aloe vera to the skin when peeling begins and continue until it is healed. Peeling is a natural reaction that usually occurs three to eight days after the sun exposure, according to MayoClinic.com.

Step 7

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration.

Step 8

Stay out of the sun to prevent further damage.

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