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If you have ever been sunburnt, you will know that it is extremely painful and uncomfortable! Sunburn occurs when your skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.  It is important to remember that when it comes to sunburn, prevention is better than cure.



Whether you are in the backyard at home, going for a leisurely walk or visiting the beach, it is important to follow these simple tips whenever you are outside during the warmer months to protect your skin from the sun’s powerful UV radiation and reduce your chances of getting sunburnt:

  • Slip on sun-protective clothing that covers your skin
  • Slop on SPF30, or higher, water resistant sunscreen. It is important to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and then remember to reapply it every 2 hours
  • Slap on a broad brimmed hat that covers your head, face, neck and ears
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on sunglasses. It is important to ensure your sunglasses meet Australian standards.


Signs and Symptoms
Sunburn can take 4-6 hours to develop; what starts as a pink glow may turn into painful, blistered skin in a few hours. The signs and symptoms of your sunburn will depend on the severity of the sunburn. Some symptoms that you may experience include:

  • Change in your skin colour,
  • Your skin will feel tight and hot to touch,
  • Pain,
  • Swelling,
  • Itchiness when your sunburn starts to peel.


It’s important to commence treating sunburn as soon as you suspect it. If you have unfortunately spent too much time in the sun and are sunburnt, these simple tips may help to soothe your sunburn:

  • Gently apply cool or cold compresses to your burnt skin,
  • Have a cool bath or shower,
  • Ensure you drink plenty of water as there is a chance you may have become dehydrated from spending too much time in the sun,
  • Moisturise the skin regularly,
  • Visit your local pharmacist to seek assistance finding an appropriate product that may help to Soothe any discomfort you may be experiencing,
  • Keep out of the sun and protect your skin until your sunburn has completely healed.


The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Channel

Cancer Council Victoria

Sun Smart



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