Second Degree Sunburn: A Guide to Self-Care

How many of you have experience getting sunburns during summer? We have our share of sunburns at one point in our life and it is pretty common during summer when everybody gets too excited about going outdoors. I especially love going to the beach in the summer, but I always take extra precautions to prevent getting a burnt skin from exposure to sun’s rays. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid exposure to the sun. There will be days when the sun will show up unexpectedly and you would be caught unprepared, becoming a victim of sunburn. It would be good to discover and learn more about how to deal with this problem especially that it can affect you or anyone at any time.

There are two levels of sunburns that people commonly suffer from. They are the first and second degree sunburn. They normally happen when the skin is directly exposed to the sun without sun protection cream or when the incorrect product is used. Between the two, the sunburn that is more serious is the second degree which needs special attention. While symptoms of first degree sunburn which more often just include skin discoloration and soreness just go away on their own in a few days, it is not the case if the sunburn is second degree. Some individuals including those with fair skin, freckles, light-colored eyes and fair-colored hair are more prone to this condition.

Symptoms of second degree sunburn

These symptoms may also come with vomiting, fever, dehydration and secondary infection.

Self-Care and Home Remedies

  • Cool the burnt area with a compress of tap water (not ice-cold water) or with a cool bath. You could also use some commercial cooling and soothing products such as calamine.
  • You could also spray vinegar for sunburn but be sure to dilute the vinegar first with equal parts of water.
  • Rehydrate the fluid lost by drinking plenty of water.
  • To relieve the pain, you could take an over-the-counter pain reliever. You could also take NSAIDs but be sure to note their restrictions on who may and may not take it.
  • Do not pop the blisters.
  • Do not apply cream or lotion on the blisters or broken skin.


To prevent getting sunburns in the future, the following can protect your skin against the adverse heat of the sun:

  1. As much as possible, avoid going out when the sun is at its peak. That is the time when it can cause worse damage to your skin. If you have to, avoid staying out for a long time because prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays can be damaging to your skin.
  2. When you have to go out, apply UV protective lotion or sunscreen suitable for your skin type. People who are prone to this condition as mentioned above should use products that offer the highest factor available, or when the sun is too strong, a total sunblock may be better.

Although you don’t have to go to see a doctor to treat your first or second degree sunburn, it needs self-care and utmost attention to avoid complications. If your symptoms persist despite home remedies, it is best to see your doctor for treatment.