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How to Avoid Sun Poisoning

Sun Poisoning: Even Worse Than Sunburn

Whether you skipped the sunscreen because you wanted a tan, or you actually wore it but forgot to reapply, now you're left with an awful sunburn. As you take a closer look, you notice parts of your skin appear blistery, and slightly yellowish in color. That's not just a sunburn, it's sun poisoning, and it's even more damaging to your skin. Not only does it cause a painful rash, but symptoms also include fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, chills, and headaches. The area may swell and the blisters can open and lead to infection.

Sun poisoning is your skin's reaction to UV rays, and just like an irritating sunburn, the rash usually results in itchy, peeling skin, but eventually goes away on its own within 10 days. That's good to hear, but there's bad news too. To hear it,


The more extreme UV exposure your skin gets, the more your skin is damaged, and the bigger your risk is for developing skin cancer. So you want to prevent sunburns and sun poisoning at all costs. Make sure to avoid long hours in sunlight, especially from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Always slather yourself with broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher whenever outside. It must be applied 30 minutes before you head out, and reapplied every two hours. If you're especially sensitive to sun, wear a hat and lightweight clothes to cover your skin, or just enjoy the shade under an umbrella.


Tell me, have you ever suffered from sun poisoning?

Photo by Kelly Sue

Join The Conversation
janetwrogers janetwrogers 7 years
I unbuttoned a button on my shirt once in the heat and forgot to apply sunscreen to the little exposed triangle of skin. Everywhere else I was covered by sunscreen and clothes, but that one spot on my chest was burnt to a crisp. I had those horrible weepy blisters come up, and then come up again, five times before it stopped. That skin has never been the same, and that one bit of skin looks ten years older than the rest of me, despite years of using products on it to try to protect and heal it. There was one benefit to the whole accident, and that was that I became fanatical about applying sunscreen.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
Fortunately I've never experienced sun poisoning, but I did have a scary reaction to the sun once after using the complimentary hotel lotion (turned out to have retinol in it). My skin didn't burn much, but it did get swollen and very, very itchy. The itching was unbearable!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
Yikes. I have been that red before. And in exactly the same area. Get the picture off my profile Fit? ;) I think at some point in my life I had gotten sun posioning, but probably brushed it off as heat sickeness. I've had the terrible itching, the nausea, the chills (funny since it's a freaking burn!) and dizzines. I try to avoid heat sickness and sub burn by staying hydrated and applying sunblock SPF 30 and over with UVA and UVB protection. i've got burned one too many times already and don't like dealing with the after effects.
poissondujour poissondujour 7 years
I got it at a dock concert once in high school and it hit my ears and shoulders... I got terribly sick and was alone in the house for an extended period of time. So scary. The skin on my ears got stuck to my pillow. I'll never forget that lesson!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I had it once when I was a kid. I had gone swimming with no sunscreen on and my nose and forehead got so fried. My nose swelled up and blistered and oozed fluid. Now I have a little age spot there, so I guess I'll always remember that little incident.
sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
That sounds terrible! Luckily I have never experienced it. I have very fair skin, but it's not really sensitive to the sun. It actually tans, and in the worst case it gets a little red, even when I'm out without sunscreen for a considerable amount of time. But I almost always wear sunscreen anyway.
Renee3327 Renee3327 7 years
I've had bad sun poisoning a couple of times when I was younger and both times I was wearing SPF 45 and reapplied several times. When I was younger, my skin was so sensitive to the sun that I couldn't be outside for more than an hour at a time even with high SPF. As I've gotten older my skin has become much less sensitive but I still make sure to wear at least SPF 15 out of habit.
kittykat83 kittykat83 7 years
I did once on my face. It swelled up and my forehead actually oozed when I touched it.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
ONCE in my life and I've since learned my lesson aobut sunscreen!!! to this day if i take a really really hot shower, i can see the 'tan lines' from that one particular sun burn/sun poisioning. seriously, my skin was red, then MAGENTA, and these little white blisters showed up five days later or so. disgusting, painful, not ever worth it. ruined my carribean vacation to say the least, as it was the first day there!!!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
No, thank God. I've always been sensitive to the sun, as I have very fair skin. My skin hurts when I'm under the sun for any prolonged period of time, and I seek shade or shelter. I've never under the sun long enough to be sun-poisoned, as my skin discomfort motivates me to get out of the sun.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
That picture isn't real sun poisoning. I got it as a kid and my chest swelled up into one huge blister. It took months for the damage to go away. Thank God for Palmer's Vitamin E Cocoa Butter.
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
I always put on spf 30 and still tan. I don't understand why people think they don't tan when they have sunscreen on.
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