Itching after sunburn: how to calm, effective remedies

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 23.04.2024

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Sea, sun, sand - all this, undoubtedly, has a positive effect on human health, improves both physical and mental state, increases efficiency. Under the influence of the sun, a beautiful tan appears, the skin is renewed, the pores are cleaned, the production of vitamin D is enhanced, and the skin is rejuvenated. But any phenomenon always has a downside, which often causes a lot of trouble, discomfort. One of these unpleasant consequences of summer holidays is severe  itching after sunburn, which can overshadow any, even the most carefully planned and organized vacation.

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Causes of the itch after sunburn

In order for nothing to spoil the long-awaited vacation, you need to carefully prepare for it beforehand. For example, you need to carefully examine what the reasons may lead to the fact that after sunburn appears itchy skin. So, the main cause is a skin burn, under the influence of which dying off and exfoliation of the epithelium occurs. So, the dead particles of epithelial tissue begin to separate, forming microparticles, which cause unpleasant sensations, contribute to the development of the reaction according to the type of allergic reaction, increase sensitization and body sensitivity.

It should be noted that people who experience severe itching have a high content of autoantibodies, as well as histamine. All this indicates the development of a high level of sensitization of the body (allergic reaction), as well as autoimmune aggression. There is such a conventional concept as "allergy to the sun", that is, under the influence of sunlight rays are formed substances (histamine, mediators, pro-inflammatory factors), which are the cause of the development of itching. The reason may be a violation of certain metabolic processes, improper elimination of metabolic products from the body, or their accumulation in the blood and subcutaneous structures.

Risk factors

At risk are people who are often and systematically exposed to adverse factors that can directly or indirectly lead to violations in the surface and deep layers of the skin. So, itching can develop in people who have practically never sunbathed before, and then have been sharply exposed to sunlight. Fear should and people who spend a long time in the sun.

Risks are people who stay in direct sunlight, sunbathe at dangerous hours - at noon (from 11 to 16 in the evening the sun is most dangerous). Also at risk are people who are under the sunlight in open areas - in the fields, forest glades and forest edges, high in the mountains. Dangerous sun, which is reflected from water or the sun. It can damage the upper layers of the skin and cause desquamation.

This includes people suffering from photodermatosis, hypersensitivity of the skin, people with dry skin. People who are often exposed to various radiation (X-ray, microwave, light, electrical radiation) are also at risk. These can be laboratory technicians, radiologists, and physiotherapists. The risk of itching increases in people with a tendency to allergic and autoimmune reactions, people with dermatological diseases.

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The basis of the pathogenesis of itching is damage to the surface layers of the skin (epidermis). It is dying off and further desquamation, which causes itching, burning. Also, the pathogenesis may be accompanied by burns and further necrosis of the skin microparticles. In the epithelial tissue, which is part of the surface layers of the skin, there is a violation of biochemical and biophysical processes, which leads to improper metabolism, accumulation of metabolic products, a large amount of carbon dioxide. All this is accompanied by parallel processes, such as reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and nutrients. Tissues and cells are depleted, the amount of intercellular substance decreases, as a result of which tissue dies out. The process is enhanced (accelerated) under the influence of cellular mediators, which act as catalysts for biochemical reactions (histamine, catecholamine, ephedrine and other substances).


Symptoms of the itch after sunburn

Itching often accompanies not only a natural tan obtained in the sun, but also an artificial tan produced in a tanning bed. Symptoms are uncommon - itching all over the skin, which is especially aggravated at night. If you moisturize the skin, apply a cream, itching somewhat decreases, but in the evening, as a rule, it gets stronger again. Concomitant manifestations are strongly peeling of the skin, dryness, irritation. Sometimes there is redness, and even swelling of the skin in the damaged area. Gradually, the skin may begin to peel. Often, itching is accompanied by falling off of small particles similar to dandruff.

Tingling skin after sunburn

The skin can itch, be pricked, especially after a long tan. This is a natural skin reaction to excessive amounts of ultraviolet radiation, to the dying off of the surface layers and their exfoliation. When such signs appear, it is necessary to check that the sun does not fall directly on the skin. It is necessary to cover the affected areas with a cloth, use special sunscreens and balms. In addition, it helps cream after sunburn, which allows you to remove irritation and normalize metabolic processes in the surface layers of the skin.

Severe, intolerable itching after sunburn, sunburn is observed quite often, especially if a person has not sunbathe for a long time, and then has been exposed to direct sunlight. Also, a similar picture is observed if a person sunbathes incorrectly: dwells in direct sun with uncovered parts of the body, goes out to sunbathe at a time when the sun is the hottest and most dangerous - from 12 to 16 o'clock in the afternoon.

When sunbathing on the sea, staying in the highlands and plateaus, high in the mountains, the skin is also exposed to the most intense sunlight. To protect yourself from burning, which is often accompanied by a strong, unbearable itch, you need to follow the rules of a safe tan. To avoid sunburn, you need to use special sunscreen. They are selected individually, depending on skin type. It is especially important to protect the skin of blondes, and people who have light, dry or sensitive skin.

Rash and itching after sunburn

An unfavorable consequence of a beautiful tan is a severe rash, accompanied by intense itching. This is due to the death of epithelial particles and their desquamation. The process may be accompanied by an increased level of histamine in the blood, which also entails the development of itching. To avoid this, timely and complete protection against the adverse effects of tanning is required. For example, it is necessary to protect the skin from direct sunlight, regularly use sunscreen.

If itching and rash still appear, it is necessary to immediately apply means to reduce itching, otherwise the process will progress. The danger lies in the fact that areas prone to itching can be combed, an infection will join them, and then complications will develop that are quite difficult to treat.

Itching and redness after sunburn

If a person has a sunburn, the skin almost always becomes reddened, itching. This is due to those specific processes that take place in the human body, both at the tissue and at the cellular level. These symptoms are particularly intense with concomitant allergic reactions, increased autoimmune aggression. If the redness covers fairly large areas, and progresses all the time, you can drink antiallergic agent that will reduce the body's sensitization.

It is necessary to apply special local remedies that will normalize the metabolic processes in the skin, neutralize the effects of poison and toxic substances, which are formed as by-products of metabolism in the body. In addition, you need to prepare in advance for the holiday season: consult with a dermatovenerologist, who will tell you how to organize skin care during the holidays, how best to sunbathe in order to protect the skin as much as possible. May require special tools that prepare the skin for further exposure to sunlight. Besides,

Place burns can be quite itchy. And there are two reasons for this: either peeling and dying off of the damaged skin cells occurs and their subsequent replacement by new, young cells and tissues. Or there is an intensive restoration of damaged skin, which is also accompanied by itching. In any case, a special therapy is required, which will be aimed at reducing itching, removing the main pathological processes. To do this, you can try a variety of external means: ointments, anti-inflammatory and antipruritic agents. Well help, as traditional drugs, and alternative medicine.

Complications and consequences

In addition to such unpleasant consequences as spoiled leave, accompanied by annoying itching, the need to apply various ointments, medicines, there are also serious complications for the health and physical condition of a person. For example, itching can constantly progress, covering all new areas. This leads to the development of further irritation, inflammation, allergies. It should be noted that quite often itching is accompanied by the development of neurosis and psychosis. This is especially true of those people who have a tendency to increased sensitivity and irritability, a high level of anxiety. Also, itching often leads to insomnia, which leads to exhaustion of the nervous system, and psychological overstrain.

It is dangerous and a situation in which a person scratches those places that are prone to itching. It can tear them apart, and an infection gets into the wound surface, which in the future may entail an inflammatory and purulent-infectious process. The greatest danger lies in the progression of infection and the development of a purulent-septic process, which can later lead to the development of bacteremia and sepsis.


Diagnostics of the itch after sunburn

The basis of diagnosis lies primarily in the determination of the causes that underlie the development of itching and its various manifestations. For this you need to visit a doctor. Mostly dermatology and venereologist specializes in skin diseases, but in his absence, a cosmetologist can also help. For accurate diagnosis, you may need both the data of an objective examination of the patient, and the results of some laboratory, instrumental studies. Since itching can be a sign of various diseases, it is necessary to exclude all diseases that have similar symptoms. For this differential diagnosis is carried out.

Various assays may be used. First of all, these are clinical analyzes, which are standardly used for diagnosis in almost any diseases and symptoms. So, a blood test, urine, feces can show a general picture of what is happening in the body and at least approximately allow to determine the course of further diagnosis. So, if the analysis indicates signs of an inflammatory process, further diagnosis is required in this direction. There are signs such as an infectious process, an increased level of histamine in the blood, which may indicate the development of an allergic reaction. Then additional tests are assigned. For example, with increased allergization and sensitization of the body, additional studies are prescribed, such as allergy tests, histamine analysis. Additional analysis may be required for the content of immunoglobulin E, which will show the level of allergization of the body.

If bacterial, viral infections that accompany itching are suspected, bacteriological and virological studies may be required. When conducting virologic diagnostics, such a basic method of confirming a diagnosis is used, such as detection of the virus in the blood. Basically, for this purpose, resort to serological and virological methods of research. Standard clinical methods are uninformative in this case. The material of the study is blood, smear or scraping from the injury site. There can be both active viruses and their persistent, inactive forms in the blood. Additional methods can serve as a microscopic examination, scraping. Microscopy will help identify the virus itself, or its metabolic products in a smear.

If you suspect a concomitant bacterial infection, which acts as a complication of itching, irritation and inflammation, develops against the background of infection in the body, bacteriological culture, and other bacteriological studies are used. So, take a sample (swab) from a place that is accompanied by a bacterial infection. After that, sowing on a nutrient medium with further isolation of a pure culture of microorganisms is carried out. After this, further identification of the obtained culture is carried out. If necessary, its quantitative indicators (concentration) are also determined. You can immediately conduct an analysis of antibiotic sensitivity, which will help to find the optimal dosage, and the most effective antibiotic for further treatment.

If necessary, other methods are used, for example, an analysis of the number of autoantibodies, an immunogram, or a complete biochemical blood test, which will help determine what caused the itchiness and irritation.

In the course of instrumental diagnostics, additional studies are conducted aimed at clarifying the existing clinical picture. It allows not only to clarify the data, but also to expand the understanding of the features of the pathological process in the body. The essence of the diagnosis is that with the help of special equipment and tools they measure and record the changes that occur in the body, note the physiological and functional features of the vital processes

Various diagnostic methods are used, for example, X-ray examination, which allows assessing the condition of tissues, bones, muscular system, identifying possible seals, foci of inflammation, infections, and areas of necrosis. Also used magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, which additionally allows you to assess the condition of the tissues. Methods of ultrasound, microscopy can be very informative.

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Differential diagnosis

In the course of diagnostics, it is important to differentiate the symptoms of several pathologies with similar symptoms that have the same appearance, in a similar manner itching. So, it is necessary to differentiate the signs of itching resulting from sunburn from signs of infectious skin lesions, fungal infections, typical allergies, intoxication, or mechanical damage. It is also important to determine what exactly is the cause that provoked the development of itching, since treatment directly depends on it.

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Who to contact?

Treatment of the itch after sunburn

Treatment is primarily symptomatic, then etiological. That is, first of all, you need to help, relieve itching as one of the leading symptoms. This will prevent complications, stabilize the situation. Then you can proceed to the diagnosis, during which it is necessary to identify the cause of the pathology. And only after that, you can move on to etiological therapy, which will be aimed at eliminating the cause. As a rule, eliminating the cause of the pathology, the symptoms disappear, and recovery occurs fairly quickly.

The main means of therapy is, first of all, traditional drug therapy. Assign various drugs, including anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory drugs. They also prescribe local medicinal products, such as ointments, gels and cream of antipruritic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic action.

In difficult cases, if the site of itching is combed, an infection has got into it, there has been a festering, there is a risk of developing an infection, it is necessary to apply antibiotics. If necessary, prescribe immunostimulants, antiviral agents (if there are indications for that). Alternative and homeopathic remedies, herbal remedies, various tanning products, after tanning are also used.

What to do and how to get rid of itching?

In order to eliminate itching, it is necessary first of all to use special means aimed at relieving itching. This and various ointments, and creams, and gels, which are designed to eliminate itching. Also used antiallergic agents that reduce the level of histamine in the blood. Accordingly, the level of irritation, redness, and itching will decrease. After the itching has subsided a little, redness should be removed, inflammation should be eliminated (if there is one). Also apply special moisturizers, ointments, masks. Positive effect of special tools after sunburn, which soothe irritated skin, relieve inflammation, irritation. Then, after removing the main irritation, you need to contact a dermatovenerologist. He will pass the necessary examination, and tell you what to do next.

If you do not know how to get rid of the itch that has been going on for several days, you need to consult a doctor, because you will need to diagnose and determine the exact causes that caused this itch. Only by removing the causes of pathology, you can get rid of the itch and its consequences. This will help various local and systemic remedies for the treatment of itching.

How to soothe the itch after sunburn?

Basically, local means are used to relieve itching, so as to soothe the skin after tanning. What exactly to use depends on the prescription of the doctor. It is based on diagnostic results. So, as a rule, local ointments that contain antipruritic and anti-inflammatory components are most effective. Well proven ointment, which include chondroitin, camphor, glycerin, nettle extracts, sea buckthorn oil, fatty components. It is not recommended to use substances that contain alcohol, because it dries the skin even more and leads to increased itching.

Remedies for itching after sunburn

For itching, it is recommended to apply special ointments, lotions, which are used immediately after tanning. These funds are usually aimed at eliminating dryness and irritation of the skin, its renewal. Both pharmaceutical and alternative products that can be prepared at home by yourself can be used. Of the drugs of systemic action, only anti-allergic drugs are used. But they are resorted to only if the local did not have an impact. At application it is necessary to observe precautionary measures - at first to check for an allergic reaction.

To do this, it is recommended to apply the tool in a small amount on the back side of the brush. It is necessary to withstand some time (until the ointment is absorbed), and then look at the reaction. So, if there is no redness or irritation - you can use the ointment for treatment. Side effects of such funds are rarely observed. Mostly they occur with overdose or individual intolerance, hypersensitivity. So, it may develop urticaria, redness, the spread of the nidus of the pathological process. Sometimes itching intensifies.

It is recommended to take suprastin as an antiallergic agent - a tablet 1-3 times a day (daily dosage averages 25 - 75 mg of the active substance per day). It should be borne in mind that the drug causes drowsiness. Its maximum concentration in the blood is detected 1-2 hours after administration, it is at this time that the concentration of attention decreases as much as possible, a person becomes lethargic, apathetic.

With the inefficiency of suprastin, you can try loratodin, which is its effective replacement. So, it is taken on a tablet per day. It acts for 24 hours, that is, it is a drug of prolonged action, which does not need to be taken often. As a rule, completely relieves the symptoms in 3 days. If necessary, treatment can be extended to 7 days.

When itching can help enterosorbent, which collects all the harmful substances, metabolic by-products, toxins. Also sorbents contribute to their binding, neutralization and further removal from the body. It should be noted that the sorbents are effective at an increased level of autoantibodies, with rheumatoid diseases. Apply on a tablespoon, pre-dissolved in a glass of warm boiled water. Drink twice a day.

It is also recommended to take acetylsalicylic acid, which helps to quickly relieve itching and reduce pain, as well as normalize the basic cellular parameters, biochemical parameters, both at the cellular and tissue levels. Take a tablet 1-2 times a day, depending on the severity of pain. It is usually not recommended to take this drug for a long time (no longer than 1-2 days until the appropriate treatment is prescribed). The drug is not prescribed to people who have a tendency to bleed, reduced blood clotting, because it dilutes the blood.

Creams and ointments for itching after sunburn

The Tramalgon ointment, which is applied to the skin in a thin layer, has proven itself well. It is recommended to apply directly to those areas that are most susceptible to itching, irritation and inflammatory process. Used for both rubbing and massage of the affected areas. The composition includes vegetable components, so side effects almost does not occur. The exception is cases of individual intolerance, hypersensitivity to the individual components of the ointment. The main action is realized through the badyagi extract, nettle, propolis, pepper oil, eucalyptus, arnica and camphor. It has analgesic, antipruritic, warming and regenerating effects on the body.

Ointment hops-antisept warms the body, has analgesic and disinfecting effect, relieves itching and inflammation, promotes skin renewal. Apply a thin layer to the skin. It is better to apply at least 3-4 times a day until the symptoms disappear.

Chloramphenicol ointment is used to relieve itching and inflammation, and also acts as an effective means of preventing infection, purulent and septic processes. Applied to the site of injury. It is recommended to undergo treatment - at least 7-10 days. It is recommended to apply at least 3 times a day, but not more than 7 times (depending on the severity of the symptoms).

Curiosin is applied with a thin layer to the affected areas 2-3 times a day. The course of treatment is at least 30 days. This remedy, which is traditionally considered the main treatment for acne. But many experts use it to treat itching, which occurs after tanning. Curiosin is available in the form of a cream, ointment and gel. What means to choose for the treatment of itching does not matter, depends on the preferences of the patient. There are no fundamental differences between these forms in the treatment of itching. This can be important in treating acne. The use of curiosin for treating the effects of tanning is due to the fact that it contributes to the rapid recovery of the skin and the renewal of the surface layers of the skin, which is important for relieving itching.

Alternative treatment

  • Recipe number 1.

To prepare take on a tablespoon of walnut leaves, aspen bark, leaves and shoots of marsh blueberry, bearberry leaves ordinary. All this is mixed, pour about 500 ml of brandy or brandy alcohol, then add half a teaspoon of aloe juice. All this insist at least 1-2 days, drink 50 ml per day. The course of treatment is at least 28 days (full biochemical cycle).

  • Recipe number 2.

They take in equal shares the flowers of linden, grass of codweed marsh, grass of a succession of threefold, the root of a peony evading. Take about 2-3 tablespoons of each component, add about 20 grams of honey, pour 500 ml of vodka or pure alcohol, insist at least 5 days, drink in small quantities twice a day, 28 days.

  • Recipe number 3.

As a basis take vodka or pure alcohol. Then add about a tablespoon of the following components: the root of the burn dung, fruit and rowan juice, grass, bird cherry ordinary. Mix, then set aside and give the opportunity to brew for 2-3 days. Then you need to strain the infusion. Take 50 grams of cottage cheese and 3-4 tablespoons of the resulting infusion. All this is mixed until a uniform concentration is formed. All this mush must be eaten per day.

As the results show, alternative treatment turns out to be the maximum effect in the complex therapy, when it also includes systemic drugs, vitamins, and, if necessary, physiotherapy.


Herbal medicine

From plants used horse sorrel. It has antipruritic, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as saturates the body with vitamins, in particular, with vitamin C. It promotes rapid recovery and renewal of the skin.

A decoction of oak bark is used for oral administration (a tablespoon 2-3 times a day). It is also recommended to use as compresses, lotions. Apply in several layers, then tied for 2-3 hours. Healing usually occurs already after 5-10 days.

The leaves of the plantain large is used for oral administration, as well as in the form of poultices. Inside take a third of the cup three times a day, which allows you to quickly and effectively relieve itching. Lotions do daily at the same time. For this gauze is moistened in a warm broth, put on the place of itching. Also recommended to create a "greenhouse effect" on top of cellophane cover. The course of treatment is 7-10 days.



Despite the fact that at first glance, homeopathy is a relatively safe method of treatment, it should be taken with the observance of basic precautions. This will avoid numerous side effects. The main precaution is to always consult a doctor. It should be borne in mind that side effects can be quite serious. This is especially true for complications of the kidneys, liver, possible intoxication.

  • Recipe number 1.

To prepare take a tablespoon of snake mountaineer, decoction of ash bark, pomegranate root and bark, honeysuckle flowers. All this is mixed with starch previously diluted to a mushy state, allowed to stand for 1-2 hours, and then applied in a thin layer on the skin (in the form of a mask). Hold for 20-30 minutes, wash off with warm water. After that you can apply a moisturizer.

  • Recipe number 2.

Take a tablespoon of propolis and honey, mix with 2-3 tablespoons of jam or mashed blueberry and blackberry, pour about 500 ml of red wine (for example, Cahors wine), then add half a teaspoon of ground ginger. All this insist at least 3-4 days, drink 50 ml per day. The course of treatment is at least 28 days (full biochemical cycle).

  • Recipe number 3.

They take in equal parts lemon, garlic and propolis, previously passed through a meat grinder. Take about 2-3 tablespoons of each component, add about half a glass of pre-boiled oatmeal, infuse for at least 2 hours, apply in small quantities on the skin in the area of itchiness, twice a day, 28 days. It is recommended to withstand at least 20 minutes. Top can be covered with cellophane, impose dry heat to enhance the effect. Then rinse with warm water or vegetable broth. You can apply a moisturizer on top.

  • Recipe number 4.

As a basis take vodka or pure alcohol. Then add approximately one tablespoon of the following components: small-fruited macleya, bait, motherwort grass, heather grass, dried eggs, valerian rhizome. Stir, insist for at least a day. Drink 2-3 tablespoons twice a day, at least a month.

  • Recipe number 5.

In cognac or brandy alcohol (500 ml) add a tablespoon of lily of the valley flowers, levzey sofloroid. Then make 2-3 drops of ethereal thuja. Drink a tablespoon twice a day.



The basis of prevention is compliance with the basic rules of tanning. You need to use special tools for a safe tan, use tools after tanning. You also need to sunbathe at a safe time - from early morning to 11 am, then - only from 16 pm. It is necessary to cover the head, shoulders, if there is a need to be in the sun from 11 to 16 hours. Sunbathing should start gradually. On the first day - no more than an hour in the sun, gradually, as tanning is formed, you can increase the duration of exposure to the sun. You can not be under the direct rays of the sun - they must be indirect, scattered.

What to do after sunburn?

Knowing what to do and how to properly care for your skin, you can avoid many problems and troubles. Immediately after tanning is recommended to take a shower with moisturizing agents. Then you should apply to clean skin means after sunburn. Further, if there are no signs of a burn, nothing can be done.


If you properly care for your skin, follow all the rules of tanning, use special tools, the prognosis can be favorable. Even if  itching  appeared after sunburn, you can quickly get rid of it, using various ointments, medicines.


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