Itchy skin after sunburn is a common phenomenon that many people including children. Does it itch when healing? Whereas it may not show them immediately, symptoms can start to surface even after a week. Individuals with naturally fair skin tend to have a sensitive skin after a sunburn.
Read on to get answers and find out on what to use for to relieve a sunburn itch or how to treat it including home remedies
According to an insight by Dr. Heidi Fowler, sunburn is an intense inflammatory response to excessive sun exposure. She goes on to add that it represents the body’s reaction to tissue damage resulting from sun exposure.
Peeling, pain, redness are common signs of a sunburn particularly in people with a fair skin but do affect dark skin too. As peeling continues, itching can result except for a few individuals who still go out in the sun.
In case of a second-degree sunburn, symptoms may show if treatment or relief measures are not timely done. They include swelling, blistering and oozing, diarrhea, etc. as we shall see later in this article.
Why does it itch?
What causes sunburn itch and what does it mean? Human skin is composed of nerve fibers which carry useful stimulations and then sends them to the brain for interpretation. These fibers also have cell receptors and nerve endings responsible for detecting sensations such as pain, itching, heat, etc.
When the sun damages the skin the nerves are affected structurally and functionally. This is what leads to that itchy feeling. Note that, while the skin is healing, itching can still be present.
Relief treatments and remedies
My sunburn itches. How long does sunburn itch last? That is a good question concerning treatment or relief. You can get quick relief if the symptoms are mild itchiness, swelling or pain using home remedies.
In case of a severe one, it can last for many days in the course healing. Optionally you may go for relief products such as creams and lotions as OTCs. Before moving on to other medications, let us now begin with home remedies (some of which are the best thing to use).
How can you relief this itch at home? Here is some simple natural at home remedies that can help a big deal.
1. Peppermint oil
To begin with, use peppermint oil is good for instant sunburn relief and itch. Peppermint has a fast cooling effect on the skin thus can help relieve of mild itching. However, if you have a sensitive skin you need to prepare a dilute solution especially for children or other individuals who need special skin care.
While preparing a diluted peppermint oil to add other natural oils like those extracted from vegetables but do not use peppermint extracts.
Before you apply it onto skin carry out a test on small area to determine whether there is any reaction such as irritation. Otherwise, if a burning sensation is felt upon applying then know it is working.
2. Apple cider vinegar
Another sunburn relief and itch relief home remedy is apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is acidic in nature and therefore if used on the skin it acts by striking a balance in pH. Sometimes after a sunburn, there may occur a change in skin’s pH. Although it has a strong smell, the benefit that comes with using vinegar is helping your body fight disease-causing microorganisms since it has antiseptic qualities.
For you to apply vinegar effectively, you need a sprayer to do it yourself and avoid rubbing your skin. Alternatively, if your skin has not formed blisters you can use a soft natural fabric to dab or lightly touch but not rub. Before then, test it on a small area of your skin to see if there is any reaction that may prevent you from using it.
Well, now that you have done that spray apple cider vinegar to every sunburn affected area allowing it to dry without touching or rubbing. Repeat it whenever you feel an itching sensation.
The easiest way to use oatmeal is by soaking your body in a warm water tub. This is efficient especially when you have a large area that is affected.
- Add a good amount of uncooked oatmeal to warm water in a tub and allow it to mix well.
- Soak your body for ten minutes ensuring that the water surface comes into contact with ‘sunburnt’ areas.
- If it is necessary pat dry afterward using your hands or towel. (do not rub)
- Repeat this procedure at least twice a day. If itching revives do it as necessary.
4. Witch hazel
If you have an itchy skin that is also painful then you need witch hazel water shower. This is a natural water which has tannins. Tannins reduce swelling too which is another sign that is symptomatic of itching.
If you haven’t blisters you can gently wash with witch hazel water. Alternatively, you can go for sunburn relief products with witch hazel.
5. Take super warm bath or shower
Warm water is good especially if it is persistent and seems not to subside even when you have had or struggle to treat itchy skin after sunbathing. You should continue taking this until you feel it no more. Remember that if you use very hot water or hot shower it is more likely to cause dryness in skin and that can aggravate itching.
6. Cold compress
Sunburns do affect exposed areas including the back, face, and chest because it is one of the exposed areas of your body including eyes and nose. If you start to develop a burning skin then apply a cold compress for instant relief of pain.
Treatments, cure or medications
Treating sunburn itch involves the use of anti-itch medicines, creams, lotions, and sprays. Furthermore, when it occurs in sensitive areas such as around the eyes visit your dermatologist who will recommend what relief products to use.
1. Steroid creams
One of the most common methods to cure itching after a sunburn is to apply creams to the affected areas. If you have mild symptoms of inflamed skin, redness and mild one apply steroid creams available as Over-the-counter medications. Ask your healthcare provider will guide you in using them.
Hydrocortisone (1%) cream is an example of steroid creams to cure or relieve inflammation. This cream is applied for a specified period of time because it has other side effects. You are therefore required to follow all instructions given by your clinical doctor.
Before you can start to use any OTC medicine products be it creams, read carefully all the manufacturer’s notes.
3. Antihistamines (anti-itch medicines)
This category of drugs can also be taken for quick or instant relief for inflammation and swelling that may lead to itchiness. However, before treating it using antihistamines, it is highly advised to go for a checkup so that the real cause is known.
The other important factor to consider is the reaction that specific topical antihistamines produce after ingesting them. Again, read all directions for use to avoid complications. For health safety reasons, visit your clinic for further and proper guidance. Drugs classified as antihistamines comprise Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton.
Some antihistamines may result in drowsiness. Therefore avoid activities that require one’s attention.
4. Topical anesthetics
This treatment is optional as far as treating sunburn itch is concerned. They work by blocking nerves so that you do not feel the itching sensation. Most of these anesthetics are locally available in form of sprays, creams, and ointments.
itchy sunburn rash
“People with photosensitivity have an immunological response to light.” [webmed.com] that is UVR light or sunlight. This means when they are most likely to get a skin rash or sunburn allergy.
The common symptoms of this rash include a pink or red skin rash. This rash is usually accompanied by blistering, presence of scaly patchy and raised itchy bumps or spots.
When itching or burning is experienced, individuals are said to exhibit second-degree sunburn symptoms. These are the same symptoms of a severe itch. Sometimes a rash is closely related to polymorphous light eruption (PMLE) since they seem to be similar in symptoms. Though it should not be mistaken for solar urticaria. Remember that a red skin rash has other causes but that may depend on exactly what part of the body that break out in a rash.
Extreme itch relief or severe “hell itch” relief
What are some of the best things you can do if your sunburn itching uncontrollably? This hell itch is driving me crazy! One of the signs of a really bad sunburn is when you start experiencing an intense itching. If you had a bad sunburn this can result. If you have already taken the above measures for itch relief without any changes, urgently talk to your doctor.
Apart from blistering, swelling and reddening when you start to experience the following (second-degree sunburn symptoms) or signs seek medical care.
- Fever and chills,
- Stomach upsets,
- Looking confused,
Extreme cases can be dangerous in that your skin may start to produce sunburn blisters that can cause bleeding or drain pus. Any signs to indicate a change in the skin such as tenderness, red streaks accompanied by facial swelling should be reported to a healthcare provider or doctor.
Dealing with extreme itch can be a big challenge particularly at night because it can deny sleep consequently inviting depression. For some individual reasons, home remedies may not function to relieve of extreme sunburn itch and its symptoms. If the itching becomes intense then you definitely require prescription-strength medications which can be given by your doctor.
How to stop it
What can I use to stop sunburn itch? Learning to stop it (both fair and dark complexion) crucial because it means a lot on your health status currently and in future. For instance, it is important to stay away from the sun in order to reduce risks of skin cancer.
For anyone to comfortably combat it – first things first. Once you start seeing signs, should immediately start with a cure for sunburn or it from further happening before it inflicts itching. What can you also do to stop sunburn itch besides you treating it?
1. Replenish body fluids
Most cases of sunburn will cause dehydration because there is a gradual increase in fluids drawn from the body reserves to the skin surface in effect to prevent skin from cracking, drying or itching. Following that reasoning, it is important to constantly take more fluids namely water, fruit drinks or sports drinks that “help to replenish electrolytes, immediately and while your skin heals.” Explains Dr. Brackeen.
2. Use anti-inflammatory drugs or skin products
Why is it important to decrease inflammation on the skin? Since inflammation is the first sign of a sunburn, applying anti-inflammatory cream products will help reduce the likelihood that you will start to itch. You can take safe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin. Moreover, anyone is discouraged to stop itching even if they are driven by the urge to scratch.
If you have to apply over-the-counter creams get the right medical advice from your doctor. If there is swelling apply a 1% cortisone creams as directed by your skincare provider or doctor.
3. Apply Moisturizers
Apply gentle moisturizers to avoid your skin from drying out and prevent it from excessive peeling. There are moisturizers or moisturizers available over the counter but if you have to reduce effects of sunburn aloe Vera is a good beginner to start with.
In order to get more from moisturizers, consider incorporating sun protection factor (SPF) like sunscreen. For better results and other effective ways to use sunscreen, stop itching from sunburn for pregnant women and people with skin complications consult your dermatologist.
4. Sunburn creams and lotions
Before you decide to use products after sunburn dig deeper to get more information about their active ingredients. It is also crucial to talk to your dermatologist and share your information on allergies. Some of the best creams and lotions available for shipping (Amazon.com) include:
- Ocean Potion Aloe After Sun Lotion,
- Banana Boat Aloe After Sun Lotion,
- Hawaiian Tropic Cool Aloe After Sun Burn (I.C.E. Gel),
- Nivea Sun Moisturizing After Sun Lotion with Aloe Vera silky skin feeling,
- Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera (1000% Gel),
- Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion,
- Burt’s Bees Aloe and Linden Flower After Sun Soother,
- Banana Boat Aloe Vera Sun Burn Relief Gel, etc.
5. Avoid soapy solutions
Most soaps are made of harsh chemical elements which only increase irritation or trigger itchiness.
6. Stop scratching
Many people have a perception that scratching is the solution to when they feel itching. The truth is scratching can worsen the condition of sunburn. Instead, you are encouraged to take medication to stop itchiness.
7. Watch the clock
Restrict the number of hours spent by kids and small children who still need sunlight as a source of vital vitamin D.
8. Watch your wear fabrics
If you already get a sunburn itch the other best thing is to avoid artificial wears it is pants, tops, et cetera. To stop itching strive to wear loose garments with natural fiber to reduce inflammation and get better nights.
Reference and cited work