Sun Poisoning: Symptoms and Treatment

Sun Poisoning

When our skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun for an extended period then the skin suffers from sun poisoning. It occurs in various forms depending on the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Generally, sunburn requires medical attention otherwise you may experience some serious skin-related complications. 

Symptoms of Sun Poisoning:

There are various symptoms associated with sun poisoning. As mentioned above, it depends on your skin sensitivity and the period for which you were exposed to the sunlight. Following are some symptoms of sun poisoning:

  • Bumps, Itchiness, and blisters
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Hyperpigmentation or skin darkening
  • Redness
  • Fever and chills
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Sun Poisoning Rash

Sun rash is a result of sun poisoning; it looks like a severe red rash. Depending on the severity, it requires medical attention as well. It is advised not to touch the affected area as it can worsen the situation, continuously touching it can also lead to bacterial infections that can lead to a permanent mark on the skin. 

If the affected area becomes itchy and bothers you a lot then you can simply apply fresh Aloe Vera gel on it. Aloe Vera gel will calm down the itching and burning sensation on the affected area. Also, there will be no side effects of Aloe Vera gel on your skin. 

Chronic sun poisoning VS Acute sun poisoning

Chronic sun poisoning shows severe symptoms that are long-lasting and sometimes may link to a risk of skin cancer. It may be difficult to treat or prevent some cases of chronic sun poisoning. Hence, it becomes mandatory to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Acute cases of sun poisoning show very mild and temporary symptoms. It can be cured with moderate medications and consistent care.

What does sun poisoning look like?

People with fair skin, light eyes, a history of skin cancer, taking medicines, antibiotics & oral contraceptives are more likely to get sun poisoning. There are five forms of sun poisoning:

1) Polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE)

This condition is very common and caused by UVB and UVA rays. People who get polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE) will have itchy rashes on forearms, thighs, v-neck area of the chest, and top of hands.

2) Photo allergic reactions

This type of sun poisoning occurs when skin becomes sensitized or allergic to oral medications or topical products such as sunscreen lotions, oils, skin masks, etc. In such cases, UVA triggers photoallergic reactions resulting in sun poisoning. These reactions can occur in summer as well as in winter. 

3) Phototoxic reactions

These reactions are the most common type of sunburns. It can leave severe rashes, blistering, and swelling on top of hands, forearms, legs, and back. These are caused by the reaction of harmful sun rays with topical lotion applied to the skin. 

4) Contact Dermatitis

People having Eczema are not at a very high risk of sun poisoning but they can develop photoallergic Contact Dermatitis. 

5) Solar Urticaria

This condition is the most severe form of sun poisoning. It can be triggered by any type of UV radiation. Occurring of hives after a short interval of time in sunlight is a common symptom of solar urticaria. It may lead to anaphylactic shock after full body exposure to sunlight. 

Sun poisoning is characterized by many visual symptoms such as hives, rashes, swelling, and so on. Due to common symptoms, it becomes difficult to differentiate or identify between sunburn and sun poisoning. 

Sun poisoning on face

Sun poisoning on the face can be very problematic for some people. It is characterized by symptoms like bumps, itchiness, or blisters on the face. The occurrence of severe red and itchy patches on the face due to sun poisoning may also lead to skin darkening or permanent marks. The person experiencing sun poisoning on the face should not touch the affected area and seek medical advice as soon as possible. 

In some cases, the affected area may become painful and develop Hives. Hives are itchy and vary in size; they are not contagious but can have a severe effect on the face as the skin on the face is very sensitive. Also, the face is the most common area of the body for hives to affect.   

How long sun poisoning lasts?

Depending on the severity and skin sensitivity, sun poisoning can last up to 10 days or few weeks. It also depends upon the treatment and consistent care, if you will bother or touch it unnecessarily then it will get worsen and will take more time to heal. 

Treatment for Sun poisoning

Medical attention and proper treatment are very important for treating sun poisoning. A medical advisor or doctor will focus on specific symptoms that you can’t do by yourself. Therefore, it is necessary to see a doctor when you experience sun poisoning. 

Following are the important ways that can be involved in treating sun poisoning:

1) Dressing – It is very important to apply a clean and damp dressing to the affected area. It will not only allow healing quickly but it will also help in preventing any kind of infection.

2) Dietary changes – the side effects or symptoms of sun poisoning can be reduced by taking a proper balance diet rich in fibers. By taking plenty of water and keeping the body hydrated can help a lot in recovery. Essential vitamins and minerals are very important for the body and especially for the skin. 

3) Light therapy – Also known as phototherapy, in this therapy certain wavelengths of light are made to fall on the skin that slows down the growth of damaged skin cells. It can also help in reducing pain and other associated symptoms.

4) Drug therapy – In severe cases, different types of drugs are involved in treatment. It is very uncommon and is used for those who are very sensitive to light. It is done if light therapy doesn’t show any result on sun poisoning. 


As we all know, prevention is always better than cure. Hence, the following are some preventive measures that you can take to prevent sun poison:-

  • Avoid overexposure of sunlight
  • Use sunscreen lotion
  • Do not use tanning beds

Experts’ Answers to FAQ

Can we treat sun poisoning at home?

It depends on the severity of the sun poisoning and the sensitivity of the skin. You can apply natural herbs such as Aloe Vera gel but still, it is advisable to seek a medical expert

Can it lead to skin cancer?

Yes, but chances are very rare. It can happen in extreme cases but the probability is very less.

Tags: | | | |

Health & Fitness Influencer | Writer | Guitarist | Biker

Similar Articles


Leave a comment

Comment policy: We love comments and appreciate the time that readers spend to share ideas and give feedback. However, all comments are manually moderated and those deemed to be spam or solely promotional will be deleted.

2020 Optimistic Girls | Techlomedia Internet Pvt Ltd Developed By Deepanker