Wondering how to treat sunburn blisters? Then read on for the various options available to get rid of sunburn blisters, including home remedies.
Do You Have Blisters after Sunburn
Skin redness and soreness are the most common symptoms of sunburn, but in severe cases, blisters may as well form. This happens as a result of damage to the lower layer of skin –second degree sunburn – as opposed to damage to the first layer of skin only that is typically associated with mild sunburn – first degree sunburn.
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Sunburn blisters are usually filled with a clear fluid and vary from small-sized blisters to large, particularly painful blisters.
Should You Pop the Sunburn Blisters You Have
The unsightly look of sunburn blisters – more so if they occur on prominent areas of the body such as the face – often makes it tempting to pop them, but should you really do that?
Well, you shouldn’t. These blisters are meant to protect your skin at it heals, so your best bet is to let them be. Popping them only increases the risk of infection and that is the last thing you want to wish for yourself.
The WebMD however gives an exception for large blisters that are particularly painful. Such blisters can benefit from draining them but you should take proper caution to prevent infection.
At the very least you should use a sterilized needle or pin (cleaned with alcohol rub) and apply an antibiotic cream e.g. Polysporin, after cleaning the drained blisters with soap and water, not to forget bandaging the blister with clean non-stick bandage.
How to Treat Sunburn Blisters or What to Do or How to Heal Sunburn Blisters
Sunburn blisters are unsightly, hurts and can even steal from your self-esteem and self-confidence. Even one incident of these blisters can double your lifetime risk of developing melanoma, a serious kind of skin cancer.
This is why it is critical to protect your skin with sunscreen, but if a mistake has already happened, then here is how to treat sunburn blisters:
1. Decide whether it is important to break the blister: Most blisters resulting from sunburn will heal on their own and should preferably not be popped. Instead, protect the blisters by avoiding any activity that can cause them to burst. If you like, you can cover the blister with a loose, dry, non-stick bandage.
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Large painful sunburn blisters may however benefit from draining them. Start by sterilizing a needle with rubbing alcohol. Next, use the needle to puncture a small hole on one edge of the blister and then drains all the fluid in it. This is however not advisable for patients suffering from diabetes, HIV or cancer.
2. Clean the blister
After draining a blister, or if it has broken on its own, wash it with clean water and soap. Regardless of what anyone told you, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol or any such cleansers do your blistering no good.
3. Protect the blister from infection: Pat the blister dry with clean gauze and then dab some antibiotic cream such as Polysporin. Remove the antibiotic cream with lukewarm water and reapply 2 times daily for 3 days. If the blistered area starts to itch, discontinue using the cream.
Finish by applying a clean bandage and change it often to keep it dry and clean – once daily at the very least.
When to see your doctor:
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, most incidents of sunburn, including those accompanied by a few blisters can be treated at home, but if blisters cover more than 20 percent of your skin – or a child’s entire back – it is important that you see your doctor.
Shawn Allen, a dermatologist based in Boulder, Colorado, also recommends seeing your doctor if you suffer from symptoms such as fever and chills are observed. The same applies if the blisters feel warm to touch or starts oozing pus.
Home Remedies for Treating Sunburn Blisters
Some commonly used home remedies for sunburn blisters are discussed below. These remedies will help to reduce pain, prevent infection, and speed up the healing process:
Cold compresses: applying cold compresses is one of the most effective home remedies for treatment of sunburn related symptoms including blisters. This involves soaking a small towel in cold water and then applying it to the affected area of skin (of course after wringing out excess water) for 15 minutes or so a few times daily.
This helps to draw out heat from the sunburned area of skin. Take caution, however, not to break the blisters.
Honey: Honey is a natural astringent that helps to prevent infection when applied to blistered sunburns. It also promotes speedy healing of the skin.
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Aloe vera: This is another superb that soothes the pain and inflammation typically associated with sunburns and also helps to keep the skin moisturized. Simply take a fresh aloe vera plant leaf, cut it into two, and apply the juice directly on the blisters. Do not wash off the juice but rather allow it to dry on the skin.
You can also use an aloe vera gel from a drugstore or beauty shop if you have no access to an aloe vera plant.
Yoghurt: Mix yoghurt and water in a ratio of 1:1 and apply it to the blistered skin. This will not only help to cool the skin but also help to keep the skin moisturized.
Lettuce: To a pot of boiling water, add a few fresh lettuce leaves. Allow them to boil for 10 minutes and the strain to obtain the resulting solution. Now keep it in your refrigerator for 2 hours before applying it to these blisters. Repeat several times each day to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Whatever remedy you choose, take care that the blisters don’t burst.
Painful Sunburn Blisters Relief – Dealing with Them
Sunburn blisters are often painful. There are however numerous pain relief options available to take care of the situation including:
Potato: Potato is a natural pain relieving remedy. Simply wash a few potatoes, slice them into small chunks, and blend them into a fine paste. Next, apply the paste on the blisters, assuming they are not broken, and allow it time to dry.
Finish by washing the paste off with cold water. Repeat this process several times daily.
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OTC anti-inflammatory drugs: Taking over-the-counter pain relieving medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or aspirin (Bayer) also helps to decrease sunburn blisters pain. Aspirin should however not be given to children as it can lead to a rare, fatal condition known as Reye’s syndrome. As for pregnant women, only acetaminophen is recommended.
How to Get Rid of Sun Blisters Itching or What to Put On Itchy Sunburn Blisters
Itching is another common problem associated with sunburns. If you are wondering how to get rid of sun blisters itching, then here are some of the options to consider:
Oatmeal: This common home ingredient is a great remedy for sunburn itching. Simply prepare a paste by mixing oatmeal powder and water and then apply it on the affected areas of skin before washing it off with water after 15 to 20 minutes.
Adding a cup of oatmeal powder to bathing water is also quite as effective in getting rid of sunburn blisters itching. If you decide to go this route, do away with the soap.
Vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid which helps to soothe sunburn related itching when applied on the skin. It is however important to dilute it with water first. Although white vinegar is also effective in soothing itchy sunburn blisters, apple cider vinegar always makes a better option.
To use this remedy, add 2 cups of vinegar to bathing water and soak in it for 20 minutes. Alternatively, splash some apple cider vinegar on a damp washcloth and dab it of the affected areas of skin.
Baking soda: Baking soda also does wonders to itchy sunburn blisters. It works by balancing the pH of the skin. One option is to prepare a paste by mixing two tablespoons of baking soda with water and then apply it to your skin for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.
For larger areas of skin, add 1-2 cups of baking soda to bathing water and soak in it for 20 minutes. Once through allow the skin to air-dry (don’t towel off the water).
Hydrocortisone cream: Available over-the-counter in drugstores, 1% hydrocortisone creams also helps to alleviate sunburn itching. According to the WebMD website, these creams should however not be applied in rectal or vaginal areas. It is also important that you follow the instructions provided on the packaging carefully.
Hydrate the skin: It is also important to keep your skin hydrated. Any water based moisturising lotion is good so long as the blisters are intact, but you should never use petroleum jell y such as Vaseline as this can trap in heat and make the blisters worse. Calamine lotions and lotions containing aloe vera are especially beneficial to itchy sunburns.
Oral antihistamines: Over-the-counter oral antihistamines such as Benadryl can also be used to get rid of sunburn blisters itching. Oral antihistamines should however not be given to children unless instructed to do so by your doctor.