We tend to take our skin for granted, yet even the most hardy, outdoor people can find themselves in difficulties when there are no clouds in the sky and humidity levels are low. Go out without a hat and heat stroke is possible. Go out without any sunscreen and burning is possible after just a few hours of exposure to the sun. Under normal circumstances, this will heal quite quickly on its own so long as there’s no further unprotected exposure. But if you stay out in the sun too long, the chances of more serious skin problems increase sharply. At the low end, the skin dries and wrinkles. More permanent spots can develop. In the more dangerous end, skin cancer can develop.
We now come to a sad truth. The treatments do not prevent the damage to your skin. That’s up to you before you go out while the sun is up – even if there are clouds in the sky. The benefits of the available drugs fall into three main classes. First and perhaps most importantly comes pain relief. Then comes the reduction of swelling with the package completed by the elimination of inflammation. From this, you will understand the most common approach is the use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, both in cream and oral forms. These are particularly effective if you take then as soon after the burning as possible. The only real side effects to worry about are possible stomach upset. But a topical corticosteroid or oral Prednisone can be useful if your skin itches during the healing process. All the research shows that, in bad cases of sunburn, a combination of NSAID and Prednisone works better than using them independently. But do not forget that the corticosteroids can make your skin more likely to burn. If you use a corticosteroid, either stay home until you have recovered or only go out with all your body covered.