What Is Your Sunburn Risk?

What is your sunburn risk? Is it high? Where are you in your knowledge about your personal risk? Even small amounts of sunlight exposure can cause damage to your skin cells. Small amounts of exposure can increase your skin cancer risk no matter what your age.

Sunburn dangers

Knowing what your sunburn risk is can be giant step in better care for your skin. If you know that poison ivy growing on the fence will cause a miserable skin rash if you touch it, you won’t touch it! Even if it means jumping higher to clear it. Or walking around the fence to get to the other side.

Research states that the younger you are when you get a sunburn the higher your risk.

In a study published by the American Association for Cancer, the researchers were able to trace the connections of sunburns. Sunburns happening earlier in your life are linked to much higher rates of melanoma skin cancer.

You are at higher risk if :

  • You work outside most every day in the sun.
  • When you are fair skinned.
  • If you have red or blonde hair. (or any shade inbetween)
  • Do you have blue or green or hazel or violet eyes?
  • Did you get a sunburn when you were very young?
  • Have you had more than 4 or 5 obvious sunburns in your life?
  • If you take some medications. Be sure and read the information that comes with the medication, either rub on or take by mouth including asprin, Motrin and Tylenol.
  • Don’t forget your tendency for “sun rash.”

Damage a Really Bad Sunburn Can Do

Here’s the connection we know about you getting a sunburn and your cancer risk.

Just one single sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer. When your skin absorbs ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, it can damage the genetic material in skin cells. This DNA is the programming for your cell healing itself.

In the short term, this damage may cause sunburns. Yes, this could heal itself and there will be no damage to your cells regrowing themselves and no visible damage.

If you keep allowing yourself to get too much sun, you will leave the “the short term” and be into “long term” risks.

In the long term, it builds up and increases the risk of skin cancer.

A simpler way to say this is “This is a situation of, if you get a few sunburns, that increases your risk of skin cancer a little. If you get lots of sunburns, and you can increase your risk of skin cancer a lot.”


One sunburn can make a difference, but it’s not as big a difference as if you have many sunburns. The “many” sunburn incidents take you to the accumulative stage of danger.

Even if you never actually get to the burn stage, exposure to sunlight can damage your skin cells. When you have more of the risk factors listed earlier, you are increasing your chances of developing skin cancer.

Researchers are finding that it’s not so much the burn itself that increases your skin cancer risk. It’s the sun exposure that’s associated with your skin’s history that raises your risk.

When ultraviolet radiation is absorbed by your skin, your risk goes up. If you have lived your life indoors, with hobbies always indoors, maybe you have only a little bit of radiation built up.

Remember the word accumulated? How much time have you been in the sun before? How many times did you forget to apply sunscreen? How often did you stay out in the sun just a little longer?

Dangers Of Sunburn

Most of us have not lived in the dark. Even if you were not out in the sun long, with no sunburn issues. You might not feel any pain at all. That does not mean that you don’t have some damage. That healthy tan you had? 6 Quick Reasons For Some Sun Exposure

What are the dangers of sunburn for you? Sunburn is a painful reminder of skin damage from spending too much time in the sun. Sun time without wearing sun block clothing or sunscreen.

Years of overexposure to the sun will lead to premature wrinkling. Your skin will look older than it should, and sooner. Older looking skin and age spots for sure. Now, add an increased risk of skin cancer.

How Many Sunburns?

Sunburns, while you are young, will increase your Melanoma Risk. Light-skinned women who fit the higher risk group listed earlier are at the higher risk after five or more blistering sunburns.

If these sunburns occur between the ages of 15 and 20, these women have an 80 percent increased risk for melanoma. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Getting as many as 5 sunburns is an indicator of a careless lifestyle that may include other behaviors that can also lead to higher risk factors.

Early Exposure Is Dangerous

Early exposures, in general, are the cause of greater concern over the exposures later in life.

If you receive sunburn later in life, researchers found that usually there is a long time between sunburn incidents.

This delay in repeating the sunburn damage will make your skin cancer appear later in your life. Usually, mature people make better choices about getting too much sun.

This is why it’s important for parents to take steps to protect their children from the sun, as well as themselves. Help your kids learn good sun protections habits for their skin.

Importance Of Sun Block Clothing To Control Sunburn Risk

Sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater, when worn with sun block clothing, will give you good protection for the areas that are covered. Blocking the sun from your skin will be easier when you simply put on a sun blocking sun hat, your sunshades, and sun blocking loose-fitting long sleeve shirt.

Add your sunblock lotion with a broad spectrum and a UPF of at least 30 on the exposed areas of your skin. Keep skin covered with the clothing. Just leaving the clothing on is easier than applying the sunscreen every 2 hours as directed.

You don’t have to keep applying goopy sunscreen to the parts of your body that are covered.

Wear your sun block hat, sunglasses, sun block shirt, and know that you have some safety for having fun in the sun. Add sunscreen to your face, throat, nose, ears, and neck.

There will be some reflections from water or sand or cement and you will need to protect yourself from that to ensure safer skin. Most skin cancers show up first on some part of the head.

Sunscreen normally needs to be reapplied after you’re outside for a couple of hours or after you towel-dry after swimming.

Making use of the shade under a shelter, umbrella, or tree can also help protect you from the sun.

Sound The Alarm

No indoor tanning beds, which can damage skin cells and quickly raise the risk of skin cancer.

Use of umbrellas will help protect you from the sun

Oh No, You Have A Sunburn!

Are you feeling your burn?

You forgot to put on sunscreen! Then you fell asleep in your lawn chair. When this happens, you’re certainly in for some red skin and pain.

The good news is that the pain won’t last forever. But it will be uncomfortable for a while.

A sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun.

Your symptoms of sunburn usually appear within a couple of hours after sun exposure. While the full amount of your skin damage may take as long as 24 hours to appear.

Long-term damage, such as an increased risk for skin cancers, can take years to appear. So you think that you are safe. It only takes a few cells that have their DNA damaged, and they can go crazy and make many millions more damaged cells. That is what skin cancer is, damaged cells that don’t know when to stop reproducing.

Do More Severe Sunburns Last Longer?

Yes, a more serious sunburn will affect you longer than a slight one will. How long will a sunburn last? The severity of the burn, as well as the general health you have, are important in healing from sunburn. How well you take care of your skin as it heals.

Ignoring the process and not taking care of your skin will make the whole ordeal take longer.

Mild Sunburns

Mild sunburns usually come with redness and some pain, which can last anywhere from three to five days. Your skin usually feels tight and dry, making it itch. Don’t scratch. Your skin may also peel a bit toward the last couple of days as your skin regenerates.

You may not have a fever, but will feel feverish and should have lots of nonalcoholic fluids. A cool bath with a soothing non-petroleum-based ointment spread across “burned skin.” Maybe a Tylenol will make you feel better for the short term while your skin rejuvenates itself.

Moderate Sunburns

Moderate sunburns are typically more painful.

Your skin will be red, a bit swollen, and hot to the touch. Moderate sunburns usually take about a week to heal. Often with a moderate sunburn, your skin is completely healed in that time with the peeling of your skin complete.

However, others may continue to have their skin peel for a few more days.

Keep your skin moisturized and avoid further sun exposure to your skin.

Remember your sun block clothing. Don’t allow more skin injury.

Severe Sunburns

Severe sunburns sometimes require a visit to a doctor or even a hospital. You’ll have painful blistering and very red skin. Severe Sunburns can take up to two weeks to fully recover.

Even if you don’t need to go into a hospital, you’ll likely have to stay home and rest to recover from a severe burn.

Being uncomfortable for several days is to be ex[ected. Stay aware, and don’t allow your or your children to have too much sun.

Factors That Affect Duration Of A Sunburn

A number of factors can have an affect how long your sunburn symptoms and discomfort last. Not everyone will react in the same way to sun exposure.

In general, these factors make people more susceptible to severe sunburns. And of course, these people generally take longer to heal.

If you have:

  • fair or light skin
  • freckles or red or fair hair
  • exposure to sun is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (when the sun’s rays are most intense)
  • are at a high altitude
  • living or visiting places near the equator
  • take certain drugs that make you more susceptible to burns (photosensitizing medications)

Quick Review For Mild Sunburn

Your redness will typically start showing up about two to six hours after sun exposure.

Your redness will hit a peak after around 24 hours and then will then subside over the next day or two.

Remember that the redness from more severe burns may take a bit longer to subside.

How long does sunburn pain last?

Pain from a sunburn usually starts within 6 hours and peaks around 24 hours. Pain will usually subside after 48 hours.

You can reduce pain with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Aleve) or aspirin (Bufferin). Cool showers, patting the skin dry not rubbing are soothing.

Applying cool compresses to the skin may also offer some relief.

How Long Will The Swelling From Sunburn Last?

The swelling may persist for a couple of days or even longer when you get a severe sunburn. Usually, you can take anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or use a corticosteroid cream to help reduce swelling. These medications should make you more comfortable.

If these suggestions don’t help with the pain, you should see your Dr. There may be other issues that you are not aware of.

How Long Do Sunburn Blisters Usually Last?

If you have moderate to severe sunburn, blisters will show up between 6 and 24 hours after UV exposure. Occasionally it may take a couple of days for blisters to show up on the skin. With blisters being the sign of a moderate or severe burn, they might last up to a week.

Use caution with these blisters. If you do get blisters, don’t break them. Your body has made these blisters to order to protect your skin and allow it to heal. Breaking them will slow down your healing process. It also increases your risk of infection.

If your blisters break on their own, you should clean the area with mild soap and water. Then you should cover the area with a wet dressing. Keep the blisters out of the sun to help expedite healing.

If there is any sign of infection you should see your doctor.

How Long Will Sunburn Peeling Last?

When you get a sunburn, the skin will usually start to flake and peel after about three days. Once peeling starts, it may last for several days.

In general, peeling will stop when the skin is fully healed. For a mild to moderate burn, that should be within seven days. However, there may be small amounts of peeling for several weeks.

Stay hydrated to help your skin heal more quickly.

Be gentle when removing dead skin cells from peeling skin. Don’t pull or exfoliate. Your skin will shed by itself. Remember that your new skin is delicate and more susceptible to irritation.

Protect your skin with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing whenever you go outside.

Learn How To Protect Your Skin
Sami’s Take on What Is Your Sunburn Risk

I know that I have not always been as careful with sunburn as I should have for myself or especially my family. We had all the risks and none of the knowledge of what should be done. There was a lack of information for kids’ parents when I was younger.

That is why I am sharing what we now know. Maybe if you see the information one more time, you will take action.

By wearing sun block clothing and knowing how to use sunscreen we will be able to work with the risks we have for sunburn. We can have fun in the sun and stay safe. Are you making changes in how you take care of your skin?

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