Sunburn treatment: How long does sunburn take to heal?

Sunburn treatments may be a common search term in the UK today, as people across the country take advantage of sky-high temperatures. Weather forecasters have predicted potential highs of 33C in the Midlands and Wales, marking the highest temperatures of 2020. While millions of people will hail the conditions, those who overindulge in them too much may find themselves in trouble.

How long does a sunburn take to heal?

Sunburn is one of the chief health concerns during a heatwave, as most people may not notice they have it until they get home.

They can cause pain and discomfort, and in some cases may warrant a hospital visit.

How long it takes to heal, depends on the degree to which someone is affected, and how they treat themselves after.


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Mild sunburn

Mild sunburn is characterised by some redness and pain, potentially varying in degree in patches.

Those suffering from mild burns will often find it takes anywhere from three to five days to heal.

They may find they have some peeling skin, which is a sign the body is regenerating.

Moderate sunburn

Moderate sunburn presents with the same red tinge to the skin, but with more intensity than a mild burn.

People may feel their skin is red and swollen to the touch and may remain so for up to one week.

The skin may then continue to peel for a few days more.

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Severe sunburn

Severe sunburns can sometimes present as a medical emergency, requiring a doctor or hospital visit.

People who spend too much time without protection in the sun will find their skin turns a deep red and blisters.

Those suffering from the condition don’t necessarily have to visit the doctor but may need up to two weeks to recover.

How can you treat sunburn at home?

Those who don’t have severe burns can help themselves recover quickly and comfortably by doing the following:

  • Taking frequent cool baths or showers
  • Using a moisturiser or aloe vera to soothe any pain
  • Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve more pain
  • Drink more water to relieve fluid loss caused by burns
  • Allow any blisters to heal, do not pop them
  • Wear skin-covering, light, tightly woven clothing outside

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