Sunburn - Practical Advice

Cancer

Sunburn is red, hot and sore skin caused by too much sun. It may flake and peel after a few days. You can treat it yourself. It usually gets better within 7 days.

How to ease sunburn yourself

Do

  • get out of the sun as soon as possible
  • cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel (take care not to let a baby or young child get too cold)
  • apply aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera
  • drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration
  • take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain
  • cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed

Don’t

  • do not use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin
  • do not put ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin
  • do not pop any blisters
  • do not scratch or try to remove peeling skin
  • do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin

You can ask a pharmacist:

  • about the best sunburn treatments
  • if you need to see a GP

See a GP urgently or call NHS 111 if:

  • your skin is blistered or swollen
  • your temperature is very high, or you feel hot and shivery
  • you feel very tired, dizzy and sick
  • you have a headache and muscle cramps
  • your baby or young child has sunburn

Severe sunburn can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be very serious.

Cancer Useful Resources

Fatigue support is a telephone programme which includes 4 appointments with a Specialist...
Cancer Focus NI can provide a wide range of presentations to meet the needs of your...
Macmillan Well-Being Coaching is a free and remote service to improve your mental health...
The Quick Fit programme offers positive steps to improve your health through diet and...
Our nurses are here to help. They can provide you with information, and signpost you to...
When you, or someone close to you, has cancer it’s normal to feel anxious, frightened and...
Prostate Cancer UK have a team of trained volunteers throughout the UK who carry out...
Each month we run an online support group for men on active surveillance - a form of...
LearnZone provides free and easy access to a wide variety of learning resources , online...
We have a team of trained volunteers throughout the UK who carry out talks to groups both...
There are a number of health campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of...
As part of this community, you can talk about whatever you want, from diagnosis to...
‘Engage’ training is a comprehensive one day programme which seeks to address the current...
Affected by breast cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to...
When an adult in a family has cancer it affects everyone. For children and young people...
Cancer Focus NI, Keeping Well vans are mobile drop-in units which bring health checks,...
Bowel Cancer UK Community — a place for anyone affected by bowel cancer to talk about...
The Macmillan Online Community is a free online place for people who are living with or...
A healthy diet and regular physical activity may help you manage the effects of prostate...
Someone is diagnosed every 15 minutes. What do you know about bowel cancer? Book a free...
Support for breast cancer
Track your treatment and wellbeing
Check your moles

Cancer Helplines & Web Chats

Marie Curie - Helpline
Cancer Research UK - Helpline
Bowel Cancer UK - Forum
Bowel Cancer UK - Ask a Nurse
Macmillan Helpline
Cancer Focus - Nurse Line
Macmillan - Forum
Prostate Cancer UK - Forum
Macmillan - Ask an expert
Prostate Cancer UK - Specialist Nurse
Macmillan - Bereavement Forum