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Skin damage in the form of inflammation and/or burns to the skin caused by over-exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of sunlight. It typically occurs primarily in people who are fair-skinned.

Symptoms usually appear within 24 hours after excess exposure to sunlight, peaking at 72 hours, unless the sunburn is severe. The affected skin turns anywhere from a mild red to severe, dark red, with the skin becoming mildly tender and even painful and accompanied by swelling. Blisters can also appear.

What To Consider

Sunburn on the lower body and legs/feet is usually more painful and takes longer to heal. If a large portion of the skin is affected, symptoms such as chills, fever, weakness, and shock can result, as can secondary infections that can set in after the skin has peeled. The new skin may be very sensitive to touch and to further sunlight for several weeks.

There are three degrees of sunburn. First-degree burns only redden the skin, with other symptoms. Second-degree sunburn can cause swelling, pain and blisters that fill with water. Third-degree sunburn results in more severe damage to the skin, is more prone to infection, and must be seen by a Health Coach.

Repeated overexposure to the sun and sunburns increases aging of the skin and the risk of skin cancers. In addition, certain pharmaceutical drugs can produce adverse reactions following exposure to sunlight. Ask your Health Coach if this is the case for medications you may be taking. If it is, avoid sunlight during peak hours.

Self-Care Tips

The best treatment of sunburn is prevention. Your initial exposure to sun in the summer should be limited to 30 minutes during midday sun. The best time to be out in the sun is before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. being outside on cloudy summer days and foggy winter days, especially at higher altitudes, carries a greater risk of sunburn due to the same amount of ultraviolet exposure. Sunlight reflecting off of water, metal, snow, sand, and silvery objects can increase the risk of sunburn. Repeated overexposure to the sun and sunburns increases aging of the skin and increases risk of skin cancers.

Although sunscreens have for years been touted as a preventive measure to protect against melanoma (skin cancer), new research indicates that sunscreens themselves can be instrumental in causing melanoma because of how they prevent the skin from producing vitamin D, an essential hormone-like nutrient that helps to inhibit the growth of melanoma and other cancers. The new research debunks the claim that sunscreens prevent cancer in humans. All they do is prevent sunburn. Moreover, research shows that the rise in melanoma rates are directly proportional to the sales rates of sunscreens. A more protective method is to avoid direct sunlight around an hour before and three hours after noon and/or to wear protective head gear (hats, visors, scarves, etc.) when outdoors.

Nutritional Supplementation
Mix the following together vitamin A, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, zinc oxide, and aloe gel, and apply topically to the affected area. The following nurtrients taken orally can also be helpful vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Should sunburn occur, spray the affected area with lavender and chamomile. To prevent blistering, also massage two to three drops of lavender oil directly into the affected area.

Flower Essences
Rescue Remedy Cream applied topically helps soothe pain and improves healing time

Apply cool aloe vera gel liberally to the sunburnt area. If you are badly sunburnt, apply a salve made with St. John's wort and calendula flowers.

Natrum mur. Is a useful homeopathic remedy for preventing sunburn, while Urtica Urens and, Rhus tox can help speed recovery after sunburn occurs. Calendula lotion applied topically is also helpful.

Apply a cold compress immediately and repeat as needed to help relieve pain. Also take baths to which one cup of apple cider vinegar or oatmeal has been added, especially if you suffer from sunburn of the lower extremities.

Juice Therapy
Carrot juice can help speed recovery.

Topical Treatment
Apply a mixture of two parts apple cider vinegar and part extra virgin olive oil to the affected area. This will help soothe the pain and hasten the healing process. PABA cream applied topically can also be helpful, as can the gel from a feshly cut aloe vera leaf.


If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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