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Treating Sunburn: Blisters, Skin Peeling

Sunburns are actually considered first-degree burns, and you’re fooling yourself if you think getting burnt every summer is a normal and safe seasonal occurrence. Sunburns are not only painful, look unattractive and inflict long-lasting wrinkle-inducing damage, but they are also dangerous and can cause life-threatening problems down the line. They are especially dangerous for children, as their young skin is fragile and cannot handle the damage.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, each time you experience a sunburn that blisters your skin, your risk of developing melanoma doubles. If a blister occurs on 20 percent or more of the body, such as a child’s entire back, it is imperative to seek medical attention, or if the sunburned person begins to experience fevers and chills. Even during the winter, even if it’s cloudy out, you need to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 protection. The optimal times to apply sunscreen and cover up with clothes and hats are between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the sun is at its highest.  Sunburn is caused by the ultraviolet rays (UV) emitted in three different types of wavelengths by the sun, UVA, UVB, and UVC. Tanning lamps can also emit harmful wavelengths that damage the skin’s cells and cause both long and short term damage.  The pain from sunburn damage can last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after initial exposure.

It is important to act quickly once you realize you’ve been sunburn by applying moisturizing cream after a cool bath or shower. Also seek out products that contain vitamin C and E to replenish nutrients that were lost and never scrub, pick or peel skin or break blisters that may form. Don’t wait to medicate either, for yourself or for your child. Ibuprofen, such as Advil, cuts back the swelling and redness that happens as a reaction to the damage.

About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

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