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Sunburn: Symptoms, treatment and prevention

We’ve all been there… too much time out in the sun with little or no sunscreen. Ouch!

We are the only ones who can prevent ourselves from getting sunburnt. Overexposure can lead to sunburn, sunstroke, dehydration and worst case scenario… skin cancer in the longer term.

Despite health warnings, many Australians are still risking sun damage to get that perfect summer tan…

Sunburn Symptoms

Changes in skin colour from pink to red, and sometimes even purple.

Skin is hot to touch.





Peeling that reveals red tender skin underneath. This “new” skin is exceptionally prone to sunburn so you should protect it from further sun exposure.

Sunstroke/dehydration symptoms



Muscle cramps.

Weakness and fatigue



Inflammation and swelling from sunburn is at it’s worst after a couple of days and you can reduce the severity of the burn.

Apply a cold compress to your skin to soothe the burn. The longer you can keep the cold up the less severe the sunburn will be.

Bathe in a cool bath to soothe the burn.

Gently apply a cream or gel (e.g. Aloe Vera) to the burnt area.

Drink plenty of water and fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated (even after you’re out of the sun).

Avoid further sun exposure until the burn heals (and invest in some sunscreen for next time!)

If you are experiencing nausea, chills, a fever, vomiting and/or severe pain you may need to see your doctor.


WEAR 50 SUNSCREEN and reapply every 2 hours if outside for long periods of time or swimming or if you are sweating.

If possible, avoid being in direct sunlight and seek shade.

Drink lots of water to hydrate.

A great day outside in the sunshine can easily turn into a bad one, so make the most of the great weather and be sun smart!

You may also be interested in the following:

Sunscreen Application Safety
Sun Care for Kids
How to apply sunscreen properly

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Acknowledgement of Country

Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.