Many of us love being outdoors in the sun on a beautiful summer day, and in the heat of the moment (pardon the pun), we neglect to put sunscreen on or forget to reapply it after swimming or after sweating too much. If we’re outside when the sun is at its highest and hottest, this can result in sunburn blisters.
When a sunburn with blisters happens, you know you’ve spent far too much time in the sun and have in fact caused quite a bit of damage to your skin. The sun blisters that appear are bubbles under the skin that have filled with fluid; they are unattractive and uncomfortable.
Sunburn bubbles can hurt quite a bit, especially if the sunburn bumps have swelling in the area of the burn. These blisters serve an important purpose by protecting the underlying skin tissue. So whatever you do, do not purposely burst them, because not only will it slow down the healing process, but you can leave yourself open to infection.
Whether or not blisters will develop depends on a number of factors:
- Skin type—the fairer the person, the more likely blisters will develop;
- Intensity of the sun’s rays that day; and
- How much exposure you’ve had.
If you’re not sure that what you have on your skin is a blister resulting from a sunburn, you can Google “sunburn blister pictures,” but… do so at your own risk. They’re not going to be pretty.
Symptoms of Blisters from a Sunburn
It takes a bit of time for blisters to appear, so if you don’t see anything right away, don’t think you got off lucky. Below are signs of a blistering sunburn:
- Reddish skin that is tender and warm to touch;
- Blisters that develop hours or days after exposure and cause itching;
- Fever, chills, pain, rash, swelling, and nausea; and
- Peeling and blistering of the skin in the burned areas after a few days.
How long do sunburn blisters last? The pain and discomfort can last anywhere from six to 48 hours after exposure. What about recovery—how long do sunburn blisters take to heal? Well, that depends on the severity and quantity of the blisters.
But typically after a week of following a treatment for sunburn blisters, the healing process should be well underway and the blisters should have flattened or are disappearing. If they haven’t and are still painful, see a doctor to be sure that they’re healing properly and that nothing else is going on.
Ways to Treat a Blistered Sunburn
What to put on sunburn blisters? Severe sunburn treatment involves two parts: getting out of the sun as soon as possible and then getting your body back to normal; this includes hydration.
The sun blisters won’t appear immediately, so you need to make sure that any other effects you might feel from the sun are taken care of. When suffering from severe sunburn, the following steps are important to follow to ensure proper recovery:
- Get out of the sun immediately.
- Take a cool shower or bath; not cold, not hot.
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area.
- Drink plenty of fluids for a few days, preferably water.
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen if there is any pain from the burn.
- Cover up the sunburned areas when going outside with loose fitting clothing, especially once blisters appear. If the clothing irritates the blisters don’t cover them up, but avoid sun exposure until they have fully healed.
How to Treat Sunburn Blisters: 10 Natural Remedies
Apply a thin layer of full-fat plain yogurt to the blistered skin and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
Yogurt is one method for how to get rid of sunburn blisters. It’s cooling on the skin and has essential fatty acids in it that will return moisture.
Apply a thin layer of full-fat plain yogurt to the blistered skin and allow it to sit for 30 minutes, then wipe it off gently with a cloth. Reapply a few times a day if needed.
Oatmeal is a long-used remedy for skin problems, especially for inflamed, broken skin.
Want to know how to heal sunburn blisters with oatmeal? Oatmeal is a long-used remedy for skin problems, especially for inflamed, broken skin that needs immediate soothing and healing. A cool bath with a cup of oatmeal will do the trick. Sit in the oatmeal water for a good 30 minutes.
You can also make an oatmeal compound and apply it the affected areas. Simply mix water with oatmeal until it forms a paste, then gently apply this paste to the skin and leave it on for up to an hour.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a remedy for skin ailments including sunburns
Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a remedy for skin ailments including sunburns because of its soothing and hydrating properties. If you have the plant on hand, snap a piece of the cactus-like leaf off, rip open the skin, and remove the gel within. Gently rub the gel into the skin. There’s no need to wipe this off, as you want it to soak in.
Vinegar is good at absorbing heat from the skin and alleviating the stinging, burning pain associated with sun blisters. Apple cider vinegar is best.
Vinegar is good at absorbing heat from the skin and alleviating the stinging, burning pain associated with sun blisters. Apple cider vinegar is best, but any vinegar will do. Dilute vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio, then apply it to the skin using a clean cloth. Dab it on gently, so as not to rough up your already-sensitive skin. And yes, you will smell like vinegar, but don’t rinse it off.
5. Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip seed oil is made up of 77% essential fatty acids, so it’s incredibly hydrating for the skin.
Rosehip seed oil is made up of 77% essential fatty acids, so it’s incredibly hydrating for the skin. It also has vitamins and nutrients that help restore the skin’s balance.
While it’s a bit pricey, it’s also an important natural remedy for healing sun-damaged skin. Gently rub the oil into the skin a few times a day until healed.
6. Cold Compress
Use a cold compress to help shrink the blisters and soothe the irritated, damaged skin.
Another good method for how to get rid of blisters is to use a cold compress. The coolness of the water will help shrink the blisters and soothe the irritated, damaged skin.
Use a facecloth that has been soaked in cold water and place it gently against the sunburn pimples, while being careful not to rough up the skin. When the cloth gets warm run it under cold water again, and keep repeating for 20 minutes every few hours.
Cucumber is soothing and hydrating, and can help calm down inflamed, sunburned skin.
Cucumber is soothing and hydrating, and can help calm down inflamed, sunburned skin. It’s also safe to use on severely damaged skin unless there are open blisters, in which case you need to seek medical attention.
The best way to use cucumbers is to take cold cucumbers and blend them up. Apply this paste to the sun-damaged skin, and allow it to sit for 30 minutes, then gently wipe it off.
Make a paste of turmeric and water and then apply it to the blisters.
Turmeric has many healing benefits and makes an excellent curative for blistered skin. You could use it as a treatment for sunburn blisters on the shoulders or sunburn blisters on the face. Make a paste of turmeric and water and then apply it to the blisters; leave it on as long as you can.
Your skin might turn yellow after the application, but this will fade over a few days, so don’t be alarmed. For further benefits, make the paste using plain Greek yogurt instead. The coolness of the yogurt will help absorb some of the heat and can provide instant relief.
9. Baking Soda
The easiest way to use baking soda is in a bath with warm water.
Baking soda is alkaline so it helps soothe the skin, and its antiseptic properties can help relieve the itching associated with a blistering sunburn. The easiest way to use baking soda is in a bath with warm water. Use about a quarter-cup of baking soda, and swish it around in the water to ensure it’s dissolved.
Sit in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes. For instant relief, you can make a compound by adding water to baking soda and then applying it to the affected areas. It can remain on the skin overnight, so it’s OK to apply it before bed.
Honey is a soothing antiseptic, so it can be used as a healing agent for severe burns and eczema.
Honey is a soothing antiseptic, so it can be used as a healing agent for severe burns and eczema. The best kind of honey to use for this purpose is one that is packed with vitamins, such as manuka honey. All you have to do is scoop it from the jar and gently smooth it over the sun blisters in a thin layer.
Don’t wash it off, because the honey will help prevent infection, especially if the sunburn blisters have popped. Sun blisters on the face can also respond very well to honey.