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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is a sunburn?

A sunburn is when your skin is damaged by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation comes from sunlight and devices such as tanning beds.

What increases my risk for sunburn?

What are the signs and symptoms of a sunburn?

Your signs and symptoms may appear while you are under the UV rays. They may also appear a few hours after your exposure. Your symptoms may become worse 12 to 24 hours later. You may have any of the following:

How is a sunburn diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and examine you. He or she may ask how often and how long you stay under the sun or inside tanning beds. Your provider may also ask if you wear sunscreen or clothing to protect your skin. He or she may ask if anyone in your family sunburns easily or if anyone has a history of skin cancer. Tell your provider if you are taking any medicines, or have any other health conditions.

How is a sunburn treated?

You will need to stay out of the sun and tanning beds. Treatment may decrease symptoms:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I prevent a sunburn?

Prevent Sun Damage

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.