Sunburn is an acute inflammatory skin condition characterized by erythema, edema, vesiculation, and desquamation, with associated symptoms of pain and/or pruritus.
Sunburn is a major preventable risk factor for accelerated photoaging 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 overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Skin findings include erythema and edema, 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
Key diagnostic factors
- sun exposure
- lack of sun protection
- skin discomfort
- skin tenderness
- sensation of warmth
Other diagnostic factors
- chronic actinic damage
- malaise, fever, chills, nausea, headache
- Fitzpatrick skin type I-III
- photosensitizing medications
- intentional tanning
- lack of or improper use of sunscreen
- injudicious sun exposure
- age under 6 months
- history of skin cancer
Investigations to consider
- skin biopsy
- Polymorphous light eruption (PMLE)
- Phototoxic dermatitis
- Photoallergic dermatitis
Skin cancer (melanoma)More Patient leaflets
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