I wanted to share my sunburn experience. I was kayaking on a sunny 73 degree day. I didn’t think I’d be out as long as I was so I got burned. I also underestimated the reflection of the water as I bought my kayak last September and kayaked short trips on partly cloudy days.

I wanted to talk about how to treat it. I applied a 99% pure type of aloe vera gel. It seemed to help.

Turns out the nature of burns is that they get worse as days go by. Two doctors I saw let me languish with a swollen face. Through my consulting nurse program, I was told prednisone may be a good route to go. It’s an anti-inflammatory medication which can be a bit harsh, but it works. I’ve used it many times for chronic bronchitis. My face immediately went down by 1/3 the first day I was taking the medication. The doctor, for some unknown reason, told me to wait 2 days before I filled it, making my suffering longer. My health coverage sucks.

I now have a kayaking hat and will pay more attention to the time I spend on the water and the U.V. index, and start using a high SPF.


Definitely be careful
I use a product called Burn Free gel, and it seems to alleviate the pain and ease the redness. I keep it in all my first aid kits for those just in case situations.

Definitely keep the hat on, and use the SPF! My challenge is remembering to keep re-applying!

sounds like you got a serious burn going. Can’t help you much other then Aloe.

I’ve gotten to the point where I always apply SPF 45 when I go outside for any length of time.

are good for burns because they reduce the swelling. They don’t help heal the burn but you suffer less.

For sunblock I prefer Nutrogena which now has a spf of 80 or 85.

Much easier…
It is much easier to “prepare” for the natual consequences of sunburn, than to “repair” the damage.

I believe you have received some good suggestions for easing the pain after the damage has occured.

Here is a suggestion I have for preparation; do a websearch for Tula hats.


Solarcane Spray
Solarcane spray is good for immediate first aid, like when you get burned while camping. I used it for the kids.

I have a very dark complexion. Part Native American. I really don’t burn much. Only in very extreme conditions.

When I was young, I was a professional lifeguard,and I hardly ever used sun screen.

Those gorgeous tans you had 20 years ago come back to haunt you. I still don’t burn, but now I break out the first time I get sun every year. My father had exactly the same problem and he had to have the lesions surgically removed every year

Still my favorite treatment.
Apple cider vinegar.

Soak a rag in vinegar lightly ring out and drape over the affected area. Let it “draw the heat out”. Wring out and re-apply. It really works great!

When done, moisturize the area with Aloe.

You can grow your own …
… Aloe plants in a clay pot , my better half grows lots of them and gives them to friends for putting on skin (she says it’s good for the skin regardless if burned or not) … here is a good thing for sun burns , get a bottle of the vitamin E gel capsuls , split them open and apply to skin … I’ve seen severe sun burns treated this way and a couple days later , no pain at all and skin is healing fast …

I second
the vinegar.

First time I heard that I thought somebody is pulling a practical joke on me but I tried anyway.

Immediately the skin felt refreshed and stopped burning a fair bit. It also helped the skin from peeling later. Trust me, we have a lot of sun downunder and despite constant sun screen lotions, hats etc., often we still burn.

If vinegar sound suss real lemon juice is just as effective.

re Prednisone
if you have open blisters, prednisone is a pretty dangerous drug. Makes you very prone to infection. Sunburn is a burn and is painful. Hope it does not happen to you again.

I burn really easily, and although I try to remember to wear sunblock, I sometimes get burned. Ibuprofen really helps.

Noxema really worked for us!
This sounds nutty, but it is based upon actual experience.

Quite a few years back my wife & I were working outdoors barefoot and we both got VERY serious sunburns on the tops of our feet. The pain was REAL bad. We tried everything. Solarcaine, aloe lotions, etc… with limited or no relief.

The only thing that really provide relief as Noxema cold cream. It was the only thing that allowed us to sleep at night.

On the other hand, if you have blistering, then things are pretty serious and I would strongly recommend you not apply anything without the doctor’s OK.

cool water
As mentioned, getting the “heat” out of the sunburn is most beneficial. I no longer apply aloe/cream etc for sunburn. Just wet a t-shirt or cotton pants with cold water, wring out the excess water and wear. Rewet as needed. The water takes the sting out and you don’t go around smelling like vinegar.


Post-Exposure, Pre-Inflammation
If you know you have been sunburned, but the inflammation hasn’t fully kicked-in yet, asprin can be very helpful. I’m not sure if the same is true of all the new asprin replacements (Ibuprophen, etc.), but it might be. Along those lines, it sort of “makes sense” that standard anti-inflammatory drugs might help some if taken later too, but I’d check into that before getting my hopes up. I know the pre-inflammation asprin thing is something I’ve read a number of times, and it has seemed to work for me. Prevents that awful lying-in-bed-and-hurting-and-can’t-sleep situation from developing.

Over My Burn
This topic may be somewhat geared towards women with the problem being, your face is swollen and may not stretch back w/o wrinkling if you are older or if your face stays swollen for too many days. This is why I mention prednisone, to help people get fast relief for that part of the burn.

I was told at some other time that anti-inflammatory pills like Ibruprophen only work as an anti-inflammatory if they are taken for many days in succession.

If you have blisters or some type of oozing open wounds, then you may have a 2nd degree burn and have an infection, which of course, would be treated differently.


I’ve got tanned boobies from paddlin’
…but that doesn’t have anything to do with the subject.

Smile, it is the greatest gift besides a sense of humor.

Paddlin’ on


Best treatment…
…I have ever used for burns is prescription Silver Sulfadiazine (sp?). It’s a cream and really helps with the healing process. Another product worth looking for is Excel-Gel (hydrogel) which moisturizes the burn much better than aloe.


First degree
I have fair skin and have had my share of painful first degree sunburns. If you can find it, the best treatment I’ve ever used is Palmolive’s Brushless Shaving Cream. It comes in a tube like toothpaste, but is really hard to find anymore. It takes away the burnm abd moisturizes as well.

Hope this helps


Bad Health Care
You all have some great suggestions. Too bad my doctors decided doing nothing was good. Maybe they feel they can’t be sued for doing nothing which is a crime in and of itself.

Right now, though, I’m stuck w/the images of Georgia_Kayaker’s tan man boobies, lol!


Burn Treatment - Drug Discovery

– Last Updated: May-02-08 2:06 PM EST –

Hi Capri:

Several years ago I worked for a pharmaceutical company where we did research on developing drugs for treating traumatic injuries including burns. Believe it or not burns heal best when they are pretty much left alone. Aloe vera gels and anesthetic sprays don't really help the burn heal and can hinder healing. Over the counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, aspirin, can reduce the pain and tissue injury inflammation and reduce the formation of blisters and swelling in 1rst and second degree burns. The old vinegar wash is actually more effective than most things sold at the drug store to help with the pain. Predisone has some serious side effects so I can certainly see why it was not the first choice for your treatment. The drug we developed was very effective at treating pain and blistering with burns. It did cause pulmonary hypertension in humans in safety tests and never became a marketed drug.