Print this topic

HealthInfo Canterbury

Sunburn

Sunburn is damage to your skin caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which come from the sun or artificial sources such as sun beds and lamps.

Sunburn causes your skin to become red, sore and tender. This can last for about a week. After a few days the skin will usually flake and peel. In severe cases it can blister.

Although sunburn only lasts a short time, it can increase your risks of serious problems such as skin cancer in later life. Sunburn just once every two years can triple your risk of getting melanoma.

Everyone who's exposed to UV light is at risk but some people are at much greater risk of sunburn than others, such as people who:

Other factors that increase the risk of sunburn include:

Preventing sunburn

The best way to protect yourself from sunburn is to avoid it. The Sun Protection Alert tells you when you need to protect your skin and eyes.

Treating sunburn

You can usually treat mild sunburn at home by:

Getting help for sunburn

See your doctor for sunburn if:

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2021.

Sources

Page reference: 892774

Review key: HISUN-53718