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If you have a sunburn, you’ll have pink or red, tender skin that feels hot to the touch. Sunburn is a sign of skin cell damage. At best, repeated sunburns increase your likelihood of dry, prematurely wrinkled skin, and dark spots. At worst, sunburns increase your risk of skin cancers.

Signs and symptoms of sunburn usually appear within a few hours of too much ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from sunshine or artificial sources, such as tanning beds or sunlamps. It may take a day or longer to know the full extent of your sunburn. If you have a sunburn, you probably have one or more of the following symptoms on parts of your body:

  • Pinkness or redness
  • Skin that feels warm or hot to the touch
  • Pain, tenderness or itching
  • Swelling
  • Small fluid-filled blisters, which may break
  • A headache, fever, chills, and fatigue if the sunburn is severe

After a few days of getting sunburned, your body may start to heal itself by "peeling" the top layer of damaged skin. This temporarily causes you to have an uneven skin color and pattern.


Cool Baths
Your dermatologist may recommend you take cool (not cold) baths, or apply wet compresses to your skin to calm the pain and inflammation.

Pain Medication
Your dermatologist may prescribe an oral (taken by mouth) pain relief medication in cases of severe sunburn.

Cream or Ointment
Applying a moisturizing cream, aloe, or prescription ointment to your skin can help heal and calm the painful symptoms of sunburn.


Physical Exam
Through a medical examination of your skin, we can accurately diagnose and determine the best way to treat your sunburn.

If you have a sunburn after being exposed to UV rays for a short period, we may conduct phototesting. During phototesting, small areas of your skin are exposed to measured amounts of UVA rays to try to reproduce the problem. If your skin reacts to the UV radiation, you may be extremely sensitive to sunlight (photosensitive), which could require a different treatment.

Why Choose UHealth?

World-class leaders in skin care treatment. University of Miami Health System is recognized throughout South Florida and the world as a leader in caring for conditions and disorders of the skin. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities, our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide superior, personalized treatments for dermatologic conditions.

Compassionate care in an academic medical center. You benefit from the state-of-the-art technology and latest medical advancements developed by our researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. You will receive the most accurate diagnosis and a detailed plan to keep your skin healthy.  

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.