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Over-the-Counter Sunburn Relief Treatments


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Sunburn Relief TreatmentsIf your sunburn causes blisters, shows signs of infection (such as redness or spreading redness), causes a lot of discomfort or doesn't heal in a week, consult your doctor. Otherwise, it's okay to use a product that you apply directly to your skin. Try a moisturizing cream, aloe or opt for antihistamine products such as diphenhydramine (brand name Benadryl®) to relieve any itching. Diphenhydramine is available as a spray, cream or gel. You can also take it orally in tablet or capsule form. Other products include hydrocortisone ointments (Cortaid® or Cortizone-10®) for relief of itching and inflammation. However, you should be aware that hydrocortisone products may increase your risk for infection, so use them cautiously and avoid if your skin is broken. Oral medications can also help relieve sunburn pain. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®) can all help relieve the pain of sunburn and may help the inflammation as well. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) can also relieve the pain of a sunburn, but won't do anything for the inflammation.

Sources: Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. American Pharmaceutical Association, 1996. Micromedex® Healthcare Series, Thomson Micromedex, 2006. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Facts & Comparisons, 2006."Sunburn Treatment: What works?" http://mayoclinic.com Mayo Clinic Health. Last accessed 12/14/2006.This answer prepared 12/12/2000.This information updated 2/7/2007.

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