Dealing with Sunburn

For me dealing with a sunburn at this point in my life and because of what I have gone through is fairly traumatic. Most of what I have to deal with when I burn involves my emotional and mental makeup. I try to avoid burning at all costs, but when I do, here is how I deal with it.


I run through my day and ask myself how this happened. How did I not properly prepare for my day? What did I miss? Was my sunscreen old or applied unevenly? Did I allow others to sway me into poor decisions? Was I forgetful? Then, I begin to ask myself what I need to do differently moving forward. Do I need to leave sunscreen in all my vehicles? Do I need to communicate better with anyone? Do I need to take better control of my schedule? What can I do better? Was there anyone with me who is also burned and what do I need to say to them? Did I put others in harm’s way?


Sunburns can be an emotional experience for skin cancer survivors. It is easy to beat yourself up. I use the experience as motivation to redouble my efforts to protect myself and others. I might talk to a friend and offload my frustration. I don’t let it get me down for too long, but I do use it as a reminder to do better next time. I might use this experience to engage others for the sake of mutual accountability. I try to turn a negative into a positive.


First, I try to assess the damage by comparing my burned skin to areas that were not burned. I ask others to help me in this process. I ask myself if I need to go to the hospital. Are there others with me that may need treatment? If I can treat myself alone, then I try to cool my skin as quickly as possible. This involves a quick, cool shower, followed by laying down in an air-conditioned room for an extended period. I try to keep my skin moist and often use Aloe Vera or a moisturizing lotion. I try to limit my movement and exercise immediately. I hydrate and replace fluids. I remember to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. Most of all I stay completely out of the sun. If I burned the first day of my vacation, then the rest of my vacation I am out of the sun. This is why it is critical to prepare ahead of time or risk losing out on a great time.

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