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Sunburn: Know the causes, preventive tips and simple ways to treat

Sunburn causes the skin to become reddish in colour and swell up. It can be painful and itchy

sunburnUse sunscreen with SPF 30-50 to prevent getting sunburned. (Source: pixabay)

The summer sun can be extremely harsh, and over-exposure to sunlight could lead to what is known as sunburn.

In March 2019, for instance, Kerala recorded 102 cases of sunburn, following which the state health department advised people to avoid direct exposure between 11 am and 3 pm.

Sunburn causes the skin to become reddish in colour and swell up, Dr Swati Mohan, senior consultant, dermatology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, tells “It can be painful and itchy. Cosmetics, hair dye, face cream, perfume can trigger off sunburn; some diseases like collagen vascular disease can cause sunburn,” she adds.

How do you prevent sunburn?

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There are simple precautions one can take:

*The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises limited time spent in the midday sun. “The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m,” reads an article on the official website.

*Wear protective clothing: Dr Mohan suggests wearing hats, sunglasses and scarves.

*In case you have to step out, WHO advises looking for appropriate shade.


*Use sunscreen with SPF 30-50 to prevent getting sunburned, Dr Mohan further advised.

How to treat sunburn

Some experts suggest simple home remedies to treat sunburn. Puneet Madan, MD (Dermatology) at Doctor Insta, and beauty expert Aakriti Kochar say one can apply coconut oil or a cooling lotion on the sunburnt areas — this should be made an after-sun routine.

You can also apply aloe vera to the affected areas to soothe and remove the tan.


Dr Mohan, however, says that one should ideally consult a dermatologist first and rely on prescribed creams and ointments.

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First published on: 16-06-2021 at 19:10 IST
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