Sunburn is the term for red, sometimes swollen and painful skin. It is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Sunburn can vary from mild to severe. The extent depends on skin type and amount of exposure to the sun. Sunburn is a serious risk factor for skin cancer and for sun damage.

Because of variations in the intensity of UV radiation passing through the atmosphere, the risk of sunburn increases with proximity to the tropic latitudes. The higher the latitude, the lower the intensity of the UV rays.

On a minute-by-minute basis, the amount of UV radiation is dependent on the angle of the sun. This is easily determined by the height ratio of any object to the size of its shadow. The greatest risk is at solar noon, when shadows are at their minimum and the sun's radiation passes more directly through the atmosphere.

Regardless of one's latitude (assuming no other variables), equal shadow lengths mean equal amounts of UV radiation.

Causes of sunburn

In a more in depth definition, sunburn is a reaction of the body to the direct DNA damage which can result from the excitation of DNA by UV-B light. The damage is recognized by the body, which then triggers several defense mechanisms, including DNA repair to revert the damage and increased melanin production to prevent future damage.

Melanin transforms UV-photons quickly into harmless amounts of heat without generating free radicals, and is therefore an excellent photoprotectant against direct and indirect DNA damage.

Symptoms of sunburn

A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, drowsiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign.

The symptoms of sunburn vary from person to person. You may not notice redness of the skin for several hours after the burn has begun. Peak redness will take 12-24 hours. Minor sunburns typically cause nothing more than slight redness and tenderness to the affected areas. In more serious cases, blistering can occur. Extreme sunburns can be painful to the point of debilitation and may require hospital care.

In much more severe cases, symptoms include fever, chills, nausea and vomiting, weakness and symptoms of shock that can constitute of low blood pressure, fainting and/or extreme weakness.

Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes, and in seconds when exposed to non-shielded welding arcs or other sources of intense ultraviolet light. Nevertheless, the inflicted harm is often not immediately obvious.

After the exposure, skin may turn red in as little as 30 minutes but most often takes 2 to 6 hours. Pain is usually most extreme 6 to 48 hours after exposure. The burn continues to develop for 24 to 72 hours occasionally followed by peeling skin in 3 to 8 days. Some peeling and itching may continue for several weeks.

Diagnosing Sunburn

A mild sunburn does not often require a visit to the doctor. However, if you have any more severe symptoms, it is critical to seek medical attention. A doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be conducted and for more severe cases of sun damage, a person may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders, or a dermatologist.


Following homeopathic remedies are effective in sunburn & sunstroke conditions:
Sol, Glonine, Gelsemium, Belladonna, Aconite, Nat-mur, Calendula Gel, Urtica Urens, Cantharis, Opium.