How to ease sunburn


Photo Illustration: Karuna Ang/Iowa State Daily

Taking aspirin immediately after sun exposure can lessen the severity of the burn. However, most people wouldn’t notice that they have sunburn until hours after exposure. At that point, these medications will not be effective.

Lea Petersen

After a much anticipated Spring Break, photos, sand particles, and memories are all that remain. But for some, sunburn may also be a reminder of lazy days in the sun or a tanning bed.

Dr. Kathy Cook of Skin Solutions Dermatology, offered helpful sunburn remedies to ease the pain.

“Taking aspirin right after sun exposure can block what we call ‘sunburn cells,'” Cook said. “However, since students probably have had sunburn for a couple days, one percent hydrocortisone cream is an over-the-counter drug and can provide temporary relief from itching and inflammation.”

Most sunburns are mild with skin slightly red-pink and last only a few days. The pain and slight inflammation should peak at 12-to-24 hours and start to heal. It is important to stay hydrated and limit re-exposure.

“Students should moisturize their skin as well to keep it from becoming too dry,” Cook said.

“We have enough evidence to prove that even a single exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds can be detrimental to one’s skin,” Cook explained.

Students should look for the ABCDE warning signs of melanoma. This includes watching previous spots that showed no cause for concern earlier.

“We recently added ‘E,’ for evolving,” Cook said.

If a mole or freckle suddenly starts looking different, one side is different than the other, the color is different or the size changes, it is imperative that students see a doctor.