How Long Does Sunburn Last?
"I love sunburns!" - said no one ever. If you're anything like us, sunburns are at the top of your "Things I could live without" list. (That's a thing, right?) Between the pain, itchiness, and in some cases,nausea, sunburns are the absolute worst. Actually, we take that back -- you know what'sworse than a sunburn? The fact that there's nocure for a sunburn.
Yup, you read that right -- sunburns don't have a miracle cure or anything like that, but youcan optimize your body's healing process by getting plenty of restorative rest, keeping yourself hydrated, and applying one of the summer's most crucial essentials,aloe vera. That said, if you do happen to get kissed by the sun, how long exactly does a sunburn last?
We'll tell you. Read on as we tell you everything you need to know about sunburns, including how long they typically last and the best tips and tricks to avoid one altogether. Are you ready?
Let's dive in!
Sunburns 101: Everything You Need To Know
Just like a golden bronze tan from the sun, a red, painful sunburn is your body's natural defense mechanism against harmful ultraviolet (better known asUV) rays from the sun. You see, when your skin is exposed to UV light, your body will produce what's calledmelanin, which is a dark pigment made by skin cells known as melanocytes. What's the purpose of melanin, you ask? Simply put, melanin is designed to protect your skin, and how much you produce reallydepends on genetics.
When individuals who produce less melanin are overexposed to UV rays, it causes damage to the DNA in the upper layers of skin. And once a cell has received too much radiation, it sacrifices itself to prevent damage in surrounding cells.
When your body senses this damage, it automatically launches a counterattack, sending surpluses of blood to the area in an attempt to help improve healing. It's during this time that inflammation flares, which can then cause skin sensitivity and pain. This ultimately results in a radiation burn -- aka,a sunburn.
Now, it's important to note that everyone is different, and how your bestie's skin reacts to sun exposure could be very different from how your skin reacts to sun exposure. Generally speaking, though, those with fair or light skin, red or fair hair, or freckles are typically more susceptible tosevere sunburn -- according to the experts over at theAmerican Cancer Society. That said, all skin types - from ivory to ebony - are vulnerable to UV damage.
Yup, it's true - the sun doesn't discriminate;everyonecan (unfortunately) get burned by the sun. And despite what many people believe, the sun damage can occur not just on super sunny days but also on especially overcast days. Why? Because UV light penetrates cloud coverage -that's why.
What Do the Symptoms of a Sunburn Look Like?
A severe sunburn can cause a whole host of icky symptoms, which are indicative of your body's attempt to repair the damage caused by the sun. While everyone is different, some of the most common sunburn signs and symptoms include:
- Red, warm skin to the touch at the site of the burn
After exposure to radiation from the sun, it's not uncommon for your skin to turn red in as little as 30 minutes - the burn will continue to develop for 24 to 72 hours, and it's during this time that the pain is at its worst.
How Long Does a Sunburn Usually Stick Around?
Uh oh, you left your handy dandy tube of sunscreen at home -- again. Don't worry, we're human, and in the words of Hannah Montana, "Everybody makes mistakes," but like most of them, this one comes with consequences.
Besides the heightened risk of skin cancer -- which should honestly be a good enough reason tonevernot slather your body from head to toe in sunscreen -- not applying enough SPF throughout the day can leave your skin angry and miserable. But seeing as you've already left the house without your sun protection, you might be wondering,how long does a sunburn last?
While we would love to give you a straight answer, the truth is that the time it takes for a sunburn to heal really just, well….Depends.It depends on a couple of things, like your complexion (those with fair skin will likely have longer-lasting sunburns) and the treatment methods you're using to try and kick your burn to the curb.
That said, how much sun you've gotten will actually be the biggest indicator of how long a sunburn will last.
When you go outside, the sun essentially kills the top layer of skin cells and damages their DNA. Then, new healthy cells need to come up to the surface. That's why a quick car ride with your arm out the window can leave you a little pink, while a three-hour catnap on your favoritebeach chair can lead to a much angrier burn.
If you have a mild sunburn, you'll notice redness and a little bit of pain. In most cases, you'll see and feel the effects around six hours after sun exposure and can last anywhere from three to five days.
During that time, your skin may start to peel in the burned area, which is a result of new skin cells developing to eventually replace the damaged skin.
A moderate sunburn is more painful and may have you reaching for OTC pain meds, such as good 'ol aloe vera and Ibuprofen. This type of burn tends to stick around a few days longer than a mild burn, typically for a week or so. During this unfavorable time, you can expect red, painful skin that is hot to the touch.
Lastly, we have severe sunburns, the worst of all burns. They are debilitating and sometimes even require a visit to the doctor for treatment. If your sunburn is extremely severe, a hospital visit may be required.
In addition to red, angry sensitive skin, a severe burn - akasun poisoning - can cause a whole slew of awful symptoms, such as:
In addition, a severe sunburn can also result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke. These types of sunburns typically stick around for a couple of weeks. Even if you aren't treated at a hospital, you're likely to miss out on routine activities.
Sunburn Prevention: The Best Tips and Tricks
While the best way to prevent a sunburn is to avoid the sun, there are some great tips and tricks you can do to keep your skin safe from UV rays. Here are a few of them:
Steer Clear of Midday Sun
Did you know that the sun is strongest during the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.? Yup, it's true -- do your best to stay out of the sun during these peak daylight hours.
Apply SPF 30+ and Often
We can't stress this one enough - whenever you leave the house, rain or shine, always slather on abroad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Not only will sunscreen protect you from getting a terrible burn, but it will also help to keep you safe from skin cancer, which is pretty important if you ask us!
Pool Floats with Shade
Plan on spending the entire summer in the pool? Do your skin a favor and invest in a top-notch pool float with a shade for sun protection like theFUNBOY X Malibu Barbie Golf Cart Float.
This timeless ode to Southern California's sun, chill vibes, and endless adventure will have you and your besties yearning for a ride on the sand or sand trap! Featuring an oversized design for two adults and a fringe-lined removable mesh shade to combat the sun, this is the most show-stopping pool float on the planet.
Burn, Baby, Burn. Wait--Don’t.
Sunburns are no fun, but thankfully a pool float that comes with a shade - like the one fromFUNBOY- and a whole lot of SPF sunscreen can help to reduce your risk. Keeping out of the sun during peak hours can also help.
Here atFUNBOY, we make stylish and high-quality luxury floats for all of your summer adventures. Whether you're looking to kick it poolside andlounge or float in the water for days, we have what you need to make this season your most memorable one yet!
Are Some People More Likely to Get Skin Damage from the Sun? | American Cancer Society