It’s no secret that sunburn on its own can feel awful, but a more severe burn can cause uncomfortable blisters. Blisters are an indication of a second-degree burn, and they need special care and attention to eliminate.
What are sunburn blisters?
Sunburn blisters appear when the connection between skin cells becomes disrupted, causing inflammation1. They appear on the skin after prolonged exposure to the sun and can be extremely painful. Normally, sunburn blisters appear several hours after initial sun exposure and indicate deep skin damage.
Most sunburn blisters take up to a week to heal, but this doesn’t mean you should let them fade without treatment. Since sunburn increases the risk of cancer and melanoma, it’s vital to take control of your blisters by treating them immediately.
After sunburn blisters heal, they leave behind dark or light spots that can last anywhere between 6 and 12 months.
Symptoms of sunburn blisters
Sunburn blisters appear as small bumps on the skin, and they’re generally white and filled with fluid. Blisters are painful to the touch, and the surrounding skin can be slightly swollen and red. Most people with sunburn blisters find them extremely itchy. However, the itchiness and pain lessen as the blisters start to heal.
Whether you have sunburned lip blisters or sunburn blisters on the face, avoid popping them. This compromises the healing process and spreads bacteria to the surrounding skin, causing infection.
It’s important to note that certain complications can arise from sunburn blisters, including dehydration, chills, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms after having sunburn blisters on the face, it’s wise to seek medical attention.
How to treat sunburn blisters
As mentioned earlier, sunburn blisters heal naturally2, but there are several steps you can take to give your skin some extra TLC. These include:
1. Drink lots of water
Dehydration is a common complication that occurs after sunburn as the skin shuttles water from other areas to your skin. To avoid this, drink plenty of water.
2. Apply steroid cream
Steroid creams keep inflammation under control and help relieve any itching.
3. Cover the blister
Sunburn blisters are quite painful, and wearing tightly-woven fabrics can increase this pain because of excessive rubbing. Luckily, by covering up your sunburn blisters, you can prevent irritation while ensuring maximum protection and comfort. This gives your blisters time to heal and prevents you from popping them.
4. Keep it cold
Applying ice wrapped in a cloth on the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling as they take some of the heat out of your skin.
Treating the surrounding burn area with care is crucial to the healing process. First, avoid taking hot showers to prevent further irritation. Second, use gentle, hydrating soaps to fasten the healing process. Lastly, apply body lotion or aloe vera gel on slightly damp skin to lock in moisture.
6. Take OTC pain medication if you have to
While this doesn’t necessarily speed up the healing process, it can help reduce pain. However, only take pain meds such as ibuprofen and aspirin when the pain is too much to bear and super uncomfortable.
How to treat sunburn blisters
If you have experienced sunburned lip blisters or sunburn blisters on the face before, they’re more likely to recur in the future. So, you’ll need to take proactive steps to prevent this by applying sunscreen regularly. When applying sunscreen:
• Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This offers maximum protection against damaging UV rays.
• Apply sunscreen to your entire body, not just your face and hands.
• Reapply your sunscreen after every two hours
You can also prevent sunburn blisters by:
• Only going outside when the sun rays aren’t strong
• Wearing protective clothing when out, e.g., long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses
• Using sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB radiation
Some skin care products can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, increasing the chances of sunburn. Hence, always read the labels of products before using them to be aware of your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.
Best sunburn blisters skincare products
To help you get rid of sunburn blisters and prevent them, we have curated an edit of five of the best skin care products.
1. TONYMOLY I’m Real Sheet Mask – Aloe
2. DHC Brightening SPF30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen 30ml
3. La Roche-Posay Sensitive Skin Soothing Moisturizer
4. Murad Pomphenol Sunguard Anti-Ageing Supplement
5. Dermalogica Ultracalming Mist