Sunburn is an acute inflammatory skin condition characterised by erythema, oedema, vesiculation, and desquamation, with associated symptoms of pain and/or pruritus.
Sunburn is a major preventable risk factor for accelerated photo-ageing and most common forms of skin cancer.
The disease typically runs a self-limited course and is treated symptomatically.
Education about future sunburn prevention via sun avoidance during peak daylight hours and the use of protective clothing/sunscreen are key interventions.
Sunburn is an acute inflammatory reaction of the skin induced by over-exposure to UV radiation. Skin findings include erythema and oedema, with or without vesiculation, followed by desquamation. Symptoms include pain and/or pruritus. Acute sunburn is a self-limited condition and typically requires only supportive care. However, primary prevention is critical, as cellular damage caused by UV radiation is irreversible and may with time increase the risk of skin cancer.
History and exam
Department of Dermatology
University of Pennsylvania
ASP declares that she has no competing interests.
Dr Aimee S. Payne would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Ronald M. Bernardin, a previous co-contributor to this monograph. RMB declares that he has no competing interests.
Outpatient & Pediatric Dermatology
59th Medical Wing/ SGOMD
Lackland Air Force Base
CMH declares that he has no competing interests.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Florida State University College of Medicine
SR declares that he has no competing interests.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology
RU declares that he has no competing interests.
Consultant Dermatologist and Professor of Clinical Photobiology
Royal Victoria Infirmary
Newcastle upon Tyne
PMF declares that he has no competing interests.
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