Here’s Everything You Should Know About Getting A Second-Degree Sunburn


We all know sunburns are annoying and just downright painful. But when your sunburns develop into second-degree burns on your face, that’s a whole new level of pain. I learned this quickly when I was on vacation and spent a day out on the beach. Before you say it’s my fault: I did have a sunblock on that was recently purchased. But I didn’t check the date before purchasing and guess what? It was expired! 

The scary part: You may not even realize you’ve experienced second-degree burns at first.

Sun exposure can be very harmful. When I got back to my hotel room, I realized my face was a lot redder than usual but didn’t think anything of it. Little did I know when I’d wake the next day, my face would be blistered, cracked open, bleeding, and blown up like a balloon. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was in so much pain. 

Don’t take getting sunburns lightly — they can cause permanent damage.

Overexposure to UV radiation is what causes my sunburn. It can also cause premature skin aging and put you at risk for skin cancer. Even if your sunburn isn’t that painful, it can still cause long-lasting effects. No one should skip the necessary precautions.

Don’t make the same mistake I did: Be way more cautious. Obviously you should use sunscreen, but also be sure to check the expiration date and use a higher protectant level. Moreover, try to reduce exposure by limiting your time in the sun when the UVs are at their peak (usually between 11:00 am to 4:00 pm). Finally, ask your doctor about any medications you’re on and if the sun may affect how your body reacts.

Sometimes bad sunburns happen, so here’s how to treat them.

Second-degree sunburn involves the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin. The site appears red, blistered, and may be swollen and very painful. Here are some things that worked for me if you’re ever in this situation:

  • Rinse the burn: Put the burned skin under cool water for a few minutes until the pain stops. The cool water lowers the skin’s temperature, helping reduce pain. 
  • Apply fresh aloe: Thankfully we grow our aloe so this was super simple for me. I cut some pieces off our plant, threw them in the freezer, then cut open and applied directly to burns and blisters. If you don’t have fresh aloe you can always get the gel from the store.
  • Use over the counter pain reliever: Tylenol became my best friend. It helped with the pain and the inflammation my skin was feeling.
  • Keep that skin moisturized: As soon as the skin started drying out it would crack open and hurt so bad. The aloe and moisturizing lotions will help prevent this from happening. 

Many places this summer have had record high temperatures. Many places have been under heat advisories, which means excessive heat will create a potential for sunburn, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke if you’re not properly prepared. Be cautious when you’re outside for a long time. Your skin is your protectant, so make sure you do your part and protect it so it can do what it needs to. 

Featured image via Tomas Salas on Unsplash


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