Expert Advice: How to treat a sunburn
Host Amber Smith: Here's some expert advice from Dr. Ramsay Farah from Upstate Medical University. How can a person treat a sunburn?
Ramsay Farah, MD: First of all, it's best to avoid a sunburn, but living in the real world, this is not always possible. So if you get a sunburn, you have to gauge how severe it is. If it's a blistering sunburn, actually I would go and see your doctor just to make sure that it's examined and no possibility of scarring arises.
Ramsay Farah, MD: Apart from that, the best thing to do is take an aspirin, immediately. The aspirin has a lot of anti-inflammatory effects, and we find that that helps quite a bit in the acute response. After that, it's good to put cool compresses on the sunburn area and even an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone. A 1% hydrocortisone is enough to help decrease the inflammation, but not affect wound healing. So you want to be careful not to put very strong steroids on it.
Ramsay Farah, MD: And the other possibility, and this may sound funny, is if you put ketchup on your sunburn. Ketchup has a lot of lycopenes and other anti-inflammatory factors and it's cold because it comes from the refrigerator. So if you put that on right away, along with your aspirin, you will decrease the inflammatory response. Now that might not affect too much the DNA damage that you get. That's going to be done. But it will make it heal better and feel better as well.
Host Amber Smith: You've been listening to dermatologist Ramsay Farrah from Upstate Medical University.