Sunburn is better prevented than treated. Effective sunscreens are available in a wide variety of strengths.
Sunscreen should be generously applied. If out in the sun for a prolonged period of time during the day, wearing a hat and other protective clothing is recommended. Light clothing reflects the sun most effectively.
If you do get a sunburn:
Try taking a cool shower or bath or placing wet, cold wash rags on the burn.
Avoid products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or petroleum (like Vaseline).
If blisters are present, dry bandages may help prevent infection.
If your skin is not blistering, moisturizing cream may be applied to relieve discomfort.
Over the counter medications, like ibuprofen, may help to relieve pain from sunburn. Aspirin should be avoided in children who are running a fever.
Call your doctor if you have a fever with the sunburn or if fluid-filled blisters, dizziness, or vision problems occur with it.
Do not apply petroleum jelly, benzocaine, lidocaine, or butter to the sunburn. They make the symptoms worse and can prevent healing.
Do not wash burned skin with harsh soap.