Whether you're fair-skinned or have a darker complexion, you're at risk for getting a sunburn if you fail to properly protect your skin from the sun's rays. Although the actual sunburn may be more noticeable on someone who has a lighter skin tone, the effects of the sun remain the same for all types of coloring. According to Medline Plus, an online resource of the National Institutes of Health, sunburn symptoms include red, tender and warm skin and, in severe cases, blisters, sun poisoning and peeling after sun exposure. Sunburns should be treated the same no matter your skin coloring.
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Rinse off in a cool or lukewarm shower as soon as you notice your sunburn appearing. The cold water pulls some of the heat out of your skin and relieves the pain.
Apply aloe vera or a moisturizer to the affected area. Avoid products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine or petroleum since this may irritate your skin, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Do not apply to the skin if blisters have formed.
Place a cool, damp washcloth onto the sunburned skin. Replace it with another cool washcloth after the other becomes warm.
Consider a homeopathic approach to relieve sunburn pain on dark skin. MotherNature.com suggests mixing 1 cup of skim milk with 4 cups of water and applying to the skin with a washcloth. Also try soaking in a tub with 1 cup of vinegar or in a tub with 1/2 cup of baking soda.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Refer to the medical instructions on the back for best results.