Preparing for your appointment

Most sunburns heal fine on their own. But you may seek treatment if you have severe or repeated sunburn. You're likely to first see your primary care doctor. Before you go to your appointment, list the medications you're taking — including vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter drugs. Some drugs increase your sensitivity to UV light.

Questions to ask your doctor about sunburn include:

  • Can I use over-the-counter medications to treat the condition, or do I need a prescription?
  • How soon after I begin treatment can I expect improvement?
  • What skin care routines do you recommend while the sunburn heals?
  • What suspicious changes in my skin might I watch for?

If your sunburn is severe or your doctor notices any skin abnormalities, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin diseases (dermatologist) for further evaluation.

June 01, 2017
References
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  2. Baron ED. Selection of sunscreen and sun-protective measures. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.
  3. Chien AL, et al. Photoaging. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.
  4. Geller AC, et al. Primary prevention of melanoma. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.
  5. Murphy F, et al. Treatment for burn blisters: Debride or leave intact. Emergency Nurse. 2014;22:24.
  6. The sun and your medicine. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/specialfeatures/ucm464195.htm. Accessed Jan. 24, 2017.
  7. The risks of tanning. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/radiation-emittingproducts/radiationemittingproductsandprocedures/tanning/ucm116432.htm. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.
  8. Benzocaine topical products: Sprays, gels and liquids: Risk of methemoglobinemia. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm250264.htm. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.
  9. AskMayoExpert. Sunburn. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  10. Kong BY, et al. Assessment of consumer knowledge of new sunscreen labels. JAMA Dermatology. 2015;151:1028.
  11. Bope ET, et al. Sunburn. In: Conn's Current Therapy 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.
  12. Reed KB, et al. The cutaneous manifestations of metastatic malignant melanoma. International Journal of Dermatology. 2012;51:243.
  13. Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens#.UbdQaJzm9lP. Accessed Jan. 20, 2017.
  14. Diaz JH, et al. Sun exposure behavior and protection: Recommendations for travelers. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2013;20:108.
  15. Reinau D, et al. Outdoor workers' sun-related knowledge, attitudes and protective behaviours: A systematic review of cross-sectional and interventional studies. British Journal of Dermatology. 2013;168:928.