Vacation horror: how to treat sunburn

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In the summer months many of us enjoy sunny days and happily expose our bodies to sunrays. While having enough sun is vital for the production of vitamin D and our immune systems, too much sun can cause sunburn. And turn what could be a wonderful vacation, into one of those really bad horror films. 

According to the National Cancer Institute, about a third of adults in the US experience a sunburn each year. More than 33,000 of them require emergency room visits.

People with pale skin or those who spend an extended time in the sun, are at a heightened risk of burning. There are no magical cures for sunburns, but there are a number of ways you can help your body’s natural healing process. 

What are sunburns? 

Sunburn is red, hot and sore skin caused by too much sun. It may flake and peel after a few days. They are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. The longer you’re exposed to these rays, the more likely your skin will burn. 

Mild sunburns usually get better within 5 days. Severe ones can take a couple of weeks. 

Specialists say that no matter how much we crave the golden-brown skin, there is no safe or healthy way to get a tan. On top of that, sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. In some extreme cases it can lead to life-threatening burns, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

It is important to remember that sunburn does not just happen on holiday. You can burn even in the cloudy weather, and if you have any of those symptoms, you must immediately seek help:

  • your skin is blistered or swollen
  • your temperature is very high, or you feel hot and shivery
  • you feel very tired, dizzy and sick
  • you have a headache and muscle cramps

Who is more susceptible to sunburn?

People with darker skin don’t burn as quickly as people with paler skin because they produce more of the pigment melanin that protects skin from UV damage, however, they, too, must protect their skin. 

If you have pale, white or light brown skin you should take extra care in the sun. Other risk factors include freckles, red or fair hair, people who have numerous moles, underlying skin condition or have a family history of skin cancer. 

People who tend to burn rather than tan and are only exposed to intense sun occasionally should also take precautions. 

How to protect your skin? 

The general advice is avoid getting caught out by sunburn. Use shade, clothing and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect yourself. Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest.

Keep an eye out for changes to your skin such as a new mole, growth or lump, any moles, freckles or patches of skin that change in size, shape or colour. If you notice something suspicious, check in with your doctor as soon as possible. 

Avoid sunbeds. Dermatologists advise against the use of sunbeds or sun lamps as they can be more dangerous than natural sunlight because they use a concentrated source of UV radiation. UV tanning equipment can contribute to the development of skin cancer and premature ageing as well as sunburn. 

Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and with at least 4-star UVA protection. It might sound obvious but make sure the sunscreen is not past its expiry date. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years.

If you plan to be out in the sun long enough to risk burning, sunscreen needs to be applied twice 30 minutes before going out and just before going out. Make sure to reapply it every two hours.

If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen so the specialists recommend to use the following scheme:

  • 2 teaspoons of sunscreen if you’re just covering your head, arms and neck
  • 2 tablespoons if you’re covering your entire body while wearing a swimming costume

As recommended by leading dermatologists and health experts, LIBREDERM laboratories have developed BRONZEADA, a collection of sunscreens with a broad spectrum of UVA, UVB and IR protection to meet the needs of children and adults. The high cosmetic properties of the products and convenient packaging formats make sun protection easy and comfortable. All products are dermatologically-approved.

What to do in case of sunburn? 

If your skin has gotten red and sore, sponge it with cool water, then apply soothing aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera. Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will ease the pain. Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.

Here’s an easy summary of sunburn does and don’ts from the NHS.


  • get out of the sun as soon as possible
  • cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel (take care not to let a baby or young child get too cold)
  • apply aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera
  • drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration
  • take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain
  • cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed


  • do not use petroleum jelly or oil on sunburnt skin
  • do not put ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin
  • do not pop any blisters
  • do not scratch or try to remove peeling skin
  • do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin

LIBREDERM BRONZEADA After Sun with Omega 3 and 6 and Aloe Vera is a perfect remedy for sunburn skin. 

Since 2016, LIBREDERM is the No.1 cosmetic brand on the Russian pharmaceutical market. The philosophy of our brand is based on freedom from the unnecessary ingredients ​in our formulas to enhance your skin’s natural beauty and health.

LIBREDERM gives everyone an opportunity to use high quality cosmetics at a fair price.

All products are manufactured in accordance with international quality standards GLP, GCP, GMP and ISO 9001 and undergo mandatory quality control and repeated laboratory tests.

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