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A 32-year-old member asked:

why do sunburns itch?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Benabio
Dermatology 18 years experience
Special nerves: Sunburn damages the surface layer of your skin. This outermost area is loaded with special nerve fibers called c-fibers, that respond to itch. (itch is a mechanism to protect us agains insects and other minor injuries that aren't significant enough to register as pain). Because sunburn skin damage happens in this surface layer, these nerves fire furiously until the skin is healed over again.
Dr. Michael Miller
Wound care 36 years experience
Related to healing: Sunburn occurs when the radiation from the sun damages the skin and the many things which is the bodies way to promote healing through getting good blood there and damaged things out. As healing occurs, the nerves in the area react to the healing causing an irritation that we interpret as itching. A good anti-burn ointment gently applied will help minimize the itching. Don't scratch the burn !
Dr. Thomas Fiala
Plastic Surgery 33 years experience
Release of ....: ...Inflammatory chemicals from the burn wound, such as histamines and prostaglandins.

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Similar questions

Australia
A 26-year-old female asked:

How do you sooth extremely itchy sunburn?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Andria Johnson
Family Medicine 16 years experience
Salve: Applying aloe vera can help. You may benefit more from salves that have Hydrocortisone in them. There are other otc treatments that have some numbing medicine in them as well. At night you might want to take an antihistamine to allow you to have better rest. You may need to see your doctor if you aren't getting any relief. Make sure you rehydrate your skin w/ water & emollients that absorbs well.
A 48-year-old member asked:

How long does the sunburn itch last?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Powlin Manuel
Allergy and Immunology 51 years experience
3 days: Usually the skin itch should be relieved in about 3 days. Using moisturizing lotion will make it shorter.
A 37-year-old member asked:

Is there a quick remedy for a severe sunburn itch?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Aloe Vera: Consider breaking off pieces of an aloe vera plant. Gently rub the sap on the effected skin.
A 45-year-old member asked:

Unbearable sunburn itch. What can I do?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera (aloe barbadensis) can reduce redness, pain, itching & swelling from a burn. It has anesthetic, anti-inflammatory & antibacterial / antifungal qualities. Hope you feel less itchy soon.
A 41-year-old member asked:

How to ease an intense sunburn itch?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Try antihistamine.: Keep sunburn cool with moist cool/cold compresses. Avoid alcohol containing products. Break off pieces of aloe vera plant & apply sap to skin. Consider non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds to reduce pain. Don’t yank off peeling skin or burst blisters. Seek medical care for severe pain, fever, lack of improvement of symptoms within several days or if a large surface area is blistered.

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Last updated Dec 31, 2020
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