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How to Know Whether a Sunburn Will Peel

author image Brian Connolly
Based in the Appalachian Mountains, Brian Connolly is a certified nutritionist and has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a licensed yoga and martial arts instructor whose work regularly appears in “Metabolism,” “Verve” and publications throughout the East Coast. Connolly holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and the University of Virginia.
How to Know Whether a Sunburn Will Peel
Skin peeling following a sunburn is often an inevitable condition. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

While good for acne, vitamin D and numerous psychological benefits, the sun can also be a harbinger of peeling, blistering and premature aging in skin. The peeling process that follows a sunburn is considered the body’s safeguard against cancer: allowing damaged cells to literally break off from the epidermis and be replaced by the tender skin underneath. While most cases of sunburn will cause immediate peeling of the skin, individuals who experienced a partial burn or have resilient skin may be able to detect and repair their skin before it peels.

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Step 1

Place the mirror so that you are clearly able to see all of your body from the front in the reflection. Remove all clothes covering the burned areas and closely inspect every part of the affected area. Note any reddened or heavily tanned sections of skin. Know that it can up to 24 hours after exposure for sunburn symptoms to fully develop.

Step 2

Rub your finger along the affected area and feel for flakes, cracking or other evidence of irritated skin. If you feel the urge to itch the burned area, the area may begin peeling soon.

Step 3

Use the magnifying glass to inspect the burned regions for red rashes or dry skin, using the mirror to help you inspect out-of-reach areas. If the skin appears sufficiently moist and resilient and does not show signs of cracking or flaking, it is possible the skin will not begin peeling.

Step 4

Compare the texture of the affected area to the non-burned skin and notice if you feel any swelling, bumps or interruptions in the skin layer when rubbing the sunburn. Note any areas where the skin feels scaled or suddenly dry and hard. These areas will likely begin peeling very soon.

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