Sun blisters typically form after a serious sunburn (second degree burn). Learn how to treat these blisters and prevent them from happening again. Sun blisters are small fluid-filled bumps that appear on seriously burned skin. They are caused by a sunburn, which is a type of radiation burn due to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Karen Poghosyan / Getty ImagesThere are
Sun blisters are small fluid-filled bumps that appear on seriously burned skin. They are caused by a sunburn, which is a type of radiation burn due to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
There are three degrees of sunburn that are based on the size and depth of burned skin. The higher the degree, the more severe the burn is.
Sun blisters are second-degree burns, which affect the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and dermis (layer below the epidermis that includes blood capillaries and nerve endings). As such, they can be highly painful.
This article will explain the symptoms and treatments for sun blisters and when to seek medical attention.
First-degree burns, which are typically mild, only affect the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin. Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and dermis, which is the layer of skin below the epidermis. Third-degree burns, which are the most severe, destroy the epidermis and dermis. In some cases, they may also damage bones, muscles, and tendons.
Sun blisters are a sign of a second-degree burn resulting from prolonged exposure to the sun's UVA and UVB radiation. The severity of your burn depends on your skin type, the amount of time your skin is exposed to the sun, the intensity of the sun at the time of exposure, whether you wear protection (sunscreen), and more.
Sun blisters usually appear a few hours after sunburn occurs, but they can take up to 24 hours to develop.
Second-degree sunburns can be just as serious as burns caused by a fire or chemical exposure. Seek immediate medical care if blisters cover more than 20% of the body or the symptoms fail to improve after two days.
It can take fewer than 15 minutes to get a sunburn. The type of symptoms you experience depends on the degree of burn. Without protection, your symptoms may be more severe.
The symptoms of sunburn depend on the depth of the burn.
Common symptoms of first-degree (superficial) burns include:
Common symptoms of second-degree (partial thickness) burns include:
Common symptoms of third-degree (full thickness) burns include:
Sun poisoning is not a medical term but it is often applied to an extreme case of sunburn that requires medical attention. Symptoms can include:
While most cases of sun blisters can be treated at home, seek medical attention if your symptoms do not improve within a week.
Common home remedies to treat sun blisters include:
Seek immediate medical attention if you display any of the following symptoms:
You should always try to avoid sunburn. Sunburns age skin cells and increase the risk of solar lentigo ("liver spots") and skin cancer. Prolonged sun exposure (especially during the summer) is associated with all major forms of skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
To reduce the risk of sun damage, avoid going out into the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the UV index (a calculation of the intensity of the sun's UV radiation) is at its highest.
If you have to be outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects against UVA and UVB radiation) that's at least SPF 30 and is water-resistant. Be sure also to wear protective clothing (including a hat and sunglasses) and reapply sunscreen every few hours and after swimming.
Sun blisters are a sign of second-degree burns from prolonged exposure to the sun. They can appear in a few short hours after exposure or take up to 24 hours to develop.
Symptoms of second-degree sunburn include the formation of blisters, deep redness, and severe pain. While most cases of blisters can be treated at home, seek immediate medical attention if blisters cover more than 20% of the body.
At-home remedies include drinking extra water, applying soy or aloe vera moisturizer, using a cold, damp compress, and taking a pain reliever. Sunburn ages skin and increases the risk of skin cancer, so take preventive steps to reduce your sun exposure.
While it's best to plan ahead so you don't get a sunburn, it can happen due to unexpected circumstances. Get out of the sun at the first signs of redness. While sunburn is common, it can also be a serious condition, especially if it has reached the point of blistering.
Knowing what to do and what not to do if a burn develops can help you treat it at home and know when to seek medical help.
Although tempting, do not pop a sun blister. Doing so significantly increases your chance of infection and can cause damage to the skin that could lead to scarring.
Second-degree burns are often accompanied by very painful blisters. Other common symptoms include swelling, severe itch, wet and glossy skin, and deep redness of the skin.