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WikiProject Medicine / Dermatology  (Rated C-class, High-importance)
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sun burn is verry bad "Taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen may[32] Avoid the use of butter" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:04, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Limited template tag on sunburn v. cancer section[edit]

This section has gone off on a sunscreen tangent. There needs to be comprehensible (i.e. easy to understand!) information in this section about how sunburn is thought to lead to some kinds of skin cancer and does not lead to others. Many dermotologists tell you to stay out of the sun and tanning beds. Why? What is happening to my skin? Please, tell me so that I can understand in plain English... don't give me a lot of jargon or complicated rhetorical arguments!

Unfortunately, the sunscreen discussion has taken over, and while I agree that sunscreen should be addressed, it is but one small element of the sunburn/cancer issue. That's why I put on the expand tag, too.

Thanks to whoever takes up this task! I am not a science person, but I am very interested to read about this. The current condition of the article leaves me very confused and dissatisfied as a reader. Portia1780 (talk) 03:02, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I tried to explain the mechanisms in direct DNA damage and in indirect DNA damage. The direct DNA damage causes sunburn, increased melanin production, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. The indirect DNA damage occurs via free radicals (and ROS) and it causes Melanoma.Gerriet42 (talk) 15:31, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

sunburn sunscreen discussion[edit]

Many entrys here sound as if preventing a sunburn with sunscreen is a safe behaviour. A lot of research has shown (Hanson), that sunscreen increases the amount of oxidative stress (free radicals) at the same time as it reduces the sunburn symptoms. It is not the sunburn which causes the skin cancer, but it is the excessive solar radiation. Sunburn and skin cancer are statistically correlated, because they have a common cause. Please lets help people to realise, that sunscreen just switches of the symptom, but does not prevent the damage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gerriet42 (talkcontribs) 15:14, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

  • while you are at it, be sure to touch on how there is recent info that the ingredients in some sunscreens are more damaging than moderate amounts of sun. Even the US requires all new chemicals to be tested, although it has grandfathered older chemicals that haven't been tested. I would ask we be careful not to jump in and make complete overhauls without using this TALK area first, however. PHARMBOY (TALK) 16:26, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Gerriet - It is my understanding that this isn't a place to promote any agenda, no matter how well-intentioned. It is a place to put facts and data, which you have absolutely done. However, in going on and on about the risk for melanoma, the section seems to ignore the widely accepted "fact" that sunscreen appears to protect (at least) against certain other types of cancer.
Without question, this entire section needs to present a balanced point of view. The article is, after all, about sunburn, not about sunscreen. Is this information there? That is certainly where I would go into the most detail on this subject... also on Pharmboy's suggestion about the chemical content.
Know that I kept all of your information but have tried to remedy the imbalance by removing the duplicate information (sounded like harping) and grouping the like information together. You should see that the main points are all still there.
PS - the casual thing is a little overwhelming for the average reader (I'm not an idiot, I have an Masters, and I get lost). I think it would be just as effective if not moreso to explain, maybe even in more detail, why the sunscreen has the effect that it does without going into the rhetoric. Portia1780 (talk) 02:51, 14 March 2008 (UTC)


The section regarding "increased risk" lacks citations. In particular, the short paragraph regarding ozone depletion's correlation with increased sunburn needs a primary source. Scientific (and particularly medical) claims need to be substantiated by journals.

Need More Info[edit]

What is the physical manifestation of a sunburn? What are the changes that take place in the cell biology/chemistry of the skin that signify a sunburn? How does ultraviolet radiation alter the structure or composition of the skin cells, and how does melanin prevent this? Eddietoran 02:06, 20 September 2007 (UTC)


This is my first wikipedia edit! Rewrote and expanded this article. Hope it's not too POV! If you edit it, please feel free to leave feedback for me in any way you choose.Grox 08:56, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The description for the progression of the injury is pretty POV, because different people develop and heal sunburn at different rates. I, for instance, being of middle eastern descent, do get burns, but they naturally in one or two days, and all traces of the injury are gone in less than a week. But references are needed.  :P

and africans dont get sunburns at all not even the light-skinned ones

i am from africa all my ancestoirs have been african and i nmever in my life had a sunburn and i strolled arround in sicily in italy in the sun at lunch time when teh indegenious population wasnt on the streets — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mnlk (talkcontribs) 17:04, 2 June 2011 (UTC)


Is windburn really a misnomer for sunburn? I'd never heard of it until someone mentioned it to me today, so I went to wikipedia to find out more... But many internet sites seem to dispute the assertion that it's the same thing as sunburn.

For example: "Wind causes the loss of the oil layer on your skin," explains Norman Levine, M.D., chief of dermatology at the University, of Arizona College of Medicine Health Sciences Center in Tucson. "And when your skin dries excessively, you get an irritation that looks and feels like a real burn. To reverse the effect of windburn, you need to add that oil layer back to your skin."

From what I can tell, it seems like sunburn is often MISTAKEN for windburn (especially when skiing, etc) but that's not to say that windburn doesn't exist.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that people skiing on cloudy days have gotten sunburn, and, not realising that UV can penetrate thin cloud cover, think it's a wind burn.

I'm no expert, though, obviously, since I'd never even heard of it until today. Opinions?plumpy 02:51, 06 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I would agree and will probably correct (when I have some more time) with the statement that windburn and sunburn are different conditions.

The results are fairly similar, but from personal experience, I've gotten windburn *night* skiing. Just this last Saturday I skied all night (from a bit after 5, certainly after the mountain had obscured the sun) and returned to find my face a bright red and sensitive.. The fact is that on a windy and chilly night (or just a night of very fast skiing) the face is constantly exposed to very dry and cold air, which has an excessive drying effect. In my experience it's a lot less worse than a sunburn, which is also very easy to get skiing (because higher altitudes and reflective snow typically increase UV exposure).

Also, anyone who's used too much acne cream (especially by combining multiple treatments) can attest to this effect. Acne treatments do not cause sunburn (though they can exasperate and sensitize your skin to it). But they can still cause a burning sensation, reddened skin, and even peeling. This is not related to radiation damage by any stretch.-- 20:34, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Other animals[edit]

This article is quite anthropocentric. What about other animals that suffer from sunburn? I only know of the hippo. Kent Wang 8 July 2005 14:45 (UTC)

Well obviously we must try to boost the number of hippos editing wikipedia, so as to rectifiy the situation. Just joking - doing research now. The bellman 00:27, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

i've got another question on this, is it only living things will suffer from sunburn? or even death animal can be sunburned? esther 22:18, 21-01-2007(HK)

Allergic Reaction[edit]

The article does not talk about the allergic nation of a sunburn. It is in fact correct that sunburn is a radiation burn, but some of it's effects are actually due to your body's allergic reaction to that damage. For example: the UV radiation kills skin cells. When they die they release a "chemical distress signal". When enough damage is done (when the "burn" is bad enough) your cells' chemical alarm reaches a critical level and an immune response occurs. This causes the swelling and reddening, from blood rushing to the skin. The sensitivity and pain is due to this I believe. So really it's both radiation and allergy. If the sun burn is extremely severe you can actually go into anaphylactic shock, which can result in death.

Body's response to the burn is simply inflammation. When this response is disportional to the sun exposure, then it can be considered an allergic response, or basically a hypersensitivity reaction. There is always specturm of the reaction from what we consider normal to anaphylactic response. I just came back from a ski trip and my face is red and bit swollen versus my gf's eye and mouse are swollen almost like a typical allergic reaction. -sean (med student) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:55, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm also a bit curious... is it possible to get actually heat burning from a sunburn? Say you're in an area with especially intense sun and heat, could the sunlight actually be intense enough to be burned by the infrared radiation, as well as from the UV and can this play a role in sunburns? - Anon User, 1/30/2006


The article says that a hot shower can take the sting and heat out of a sunburn. I've heard this from my wife's family, too, but I can never bare anything hot on my sunburns, it makes it worse! Maybe it does work, but would it just be that the pain receptors are overloaded? I have actually found that running cool water over it and allowing that water to evaporate helps reduce the heat and pain. PrometheusX303 18:08, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

All the listed treatments seem to be very folk-medicine based. Many of them are (at least in Australia!) widely contra-indicated for sunburn. It would be very beneficial if this section of the article is improved by someone with medical background.Garrie 04:40, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
Most of the treatments listed in the treatment section are laughably folksy. In fact, without references, I think that most of that section should be moved entirely to Talk because it's very misleading. Mrestko 01:54, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
I pruned it some, and clearly stated that most of those were folk remedies which may do more harm than good. It still needs references and attention from someone with a medical background. ONUnicorn 14:32, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

I've always used vineger. I googled it and aparently many others do also. You dab on the vineger with in 24 hours after burning, let it evaporate off, and maybe 4 hours repeat. What is wrong with lidocain?Millyissa 17 July 2007

A friend of mine says he worked in emergency in the gold coast Australia he said if a patient came in with really bad sun burn they would give them asthma medication which was a steroidal anti inflammatory he said this quickly stops the sun burn in only afew days.

Plastic bag packed with ice[edit]

My parents used this on burns and scolds when I was a kid and a larger or smaller bag can be used to fit the burn. Put in enough ice to cover the burn then apply bag to area. When ice has melted, check the area is the same temp or slightly cooler than the surrounding area. If done quickly, this not only prevents a burn conducting deeper into the skin but can prevent blistering.

The bag stops the ice sticking to the skin as well as keeping it clean and dry. Zip locks are perfect for this purpose.

I spent an hour in the sun and began to go red 2 hours later. Have treated as above - will let you know how I get on.--SamJWatkins (talk) 16:47, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

edited the section in treatments about aspirin and kids. the article on reye's syndrom (linked) only showed that it may cause and there is some link to aspirin. so took the DO NOT out, made it more objective. --Dasbrick (talk) 16:28, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

"Black" sunburn?[edit]

Can people of African descent get a sunburn? -- 19:06, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Good question. I would think so, just not as easily as those with fairer skin. After all, UV radiation affects all skin. PrometheusX303 22:00, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely they can. Everyone gets sunburn.

No not everyone gets sunburn. It's possible for anyone to get sunburn, but not everyone does. Personally I never have. The darker your skin is, the more protection it provides against UV light which causes sun burn. Yes, dark skinned people can get sun burned, but it is far less likely, and the darker your skin is, the less likely you'll get burned. Malamockq (talk) 03:27, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Racial skin differences should definitely be discussed in the article. Any volunteers? (talk) 10:25, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

I got sunburn after being in an outdoor pool in North Yorkshire, and I am mixed race. My half brother who is somewhat darker has also managed to burn himself85.158.139.100 (talk) 10:15, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Lance Tyrell

I'm guessing it's less visible on darker skin, though? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:09, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

please take into account that some blacks in america are part european....

i am african and all my ancestors have been and i have never in my life had a sunburn africans who arent part whiet dont get sunburn some people in my country of origin are pretty much lightskinned (but not becasue of nonafrican ancestry) and tehy dont get sunburn either i have been in the sun in the summer in sicilly with no shirt at lunch time very day and never had any trouble while my friends who are white had their skin peeling from tehir backs i think THIS articles is not neittral and i would oike to have it tagged for POV if peopel agree

maybe its hard to define becasue some people have ancestry form several parts of teh earth and migth have thsu different experiences

but for africans and i knwo a lot who havent had white ancestoirs there are no sunbvurns havent heard of a sinmgle case and i knwo many(hundreds).17:10, 2 June 2011 (UTC) Mnlk 17:10, 2 June 2011 (UTC)— Preceding unsigned comment added by Mnlk (talkcontribs)

     I just wanted to add that I'm an African American and I live in Bakersfield,Ca where it gets hot as a skillet(120°) in mid summer but even been in Arizona and Texas during hot summers and I've never ever had a sunburn in my life and neither have my other African American family members have either and it doesn't matter what duration of exposure to the sun it is 

recent picture addition[edit]

The new picture

Sun burn.JPG

is gross. On the other hand, it shows the damage of sunburn quite well. PrometheusX303 12:44, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

That is why I added the picture, it demonstrates the dangers and, Wikipedia isn't censored. But, I guess it's the rest of Wikipedia who will make the dessicion in the end as to keeping it or not. Wikioogle=world take over 15:44, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I can remember falling asleep on a dock when I was a kid. My back peeled in long strips. PrometheusX303 12:30, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that it's gross at all. I'm sunburnt right now, pretty badly at that, and that's why I came here to look it up (as I do for everything, hehe). I got sunburnt a few years ago too and my arms peeled like that. Kinda nasty when you're the one peeling, but it's not really that gross too look oozing blisters and stuff like that, that'd be another story, LOL. WikiFiend90
I'm sunburned right now too. I fell asleep in a pool last week and now it's finaly starting to peel. It's annoying as hell to wear a shirt, and since it's on my shoulders I can't pick at it well. I feel like a walking snowglobe, leaving flakes everywhere. --Piemanmoo 00:01, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Blisters from sunburn[edit]

Hi, I've added a picture from when I got sunburn and it actually blistered. There is mentioned of blistering in this particular article but the photos only show burning and peeling.

Blistering caused by SunBurn

As blistering is something that I was unaware of before it happened to me - I've added the picture to the article to make others aware too.

Thanks, Jamie

  • Good picture (not that blisters are good, just the picture, hehe). Maybe my comment above was a little strange, saying it would be gross to have oozing blisters and things like that. Now that I think about it, it's OK to have pictures of the big blisters because then people reading this article will know what they look like. -WikiFiend90 20:31, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Sunburn as a cause of cancer[edit]

This is rather misleading. Sunburns are not a cause of cancer, but rather a reaction to the DNA damage that causes cancer. Which is why the two usually accompany each other. I know of a friend who, because of an odd pairing of parents (Mexican and Irish), does not get sunburns but has light-colored skin. This doesn't mean that the skin cells aren't getting DNA damage from the UV rays. In fact, it's probably a greater risk for skin cancer than not getting sunburns at all.

See --Clarphimous

Another picture[edit]

I added a new picture of my feet sunburnt to show, not only the sunburn but also the swellingDamianFinol 18:35, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Sunburnt feet with swelling

Welding Image?[edit]

Why is there a picture fo someone wearing a welding mask? I assume it has something to do with the section of the article that mentions eye protection, but I don't think this is a very good way of illustrating it - surely sun glasses are more appropriate eyewear, I can't see people going to the beach wearing a welding mask! --Corinthian 19:47, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed it. Arc eye is the only welding-related injury I could find. ALTON .ıl 07:07, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Arc welding makes UV radiation, with the potential to damage the skin.Fireemblem555 (talk) 07:44, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

You are always advised to wear long sleeves and protective gloves, because of the UV emitted while welding. Any packaging for welders I have seen including my own state this. (talk) 14:51, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Lance Tyrell

Range of skin damage[edit]

Can the range which certain people may be tolerant of exposure to the sun be discussed. For example, my skin is a relatively tanned color permanently, when i went on vacation in the Carribean i was burned for the first day because my skin wasn't used to the intensity of the sun but after that, my skin got progressively darker and i wasn't burnt again for the duration of the trip.

Removing all pics?[edit], why did you remove all the pictures? --Bowlhover 14:12, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

I have restored them. I think the earlier discussion indicates consensus for keeping them in the article. — blobglob talk 05:38, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Question about blistered sunburn[edit]

I had a burn about that bad - if not worse this past August. I took a picture of it but it was so scary that I deleted it. My concern is that now that my back and shoulders are healed, I have pale patcheds of skin all over my shoulders. I mean my back feels smooth and normal, only the pigmentations is off. I guess its the fresh skin that has developed after the burn healed. So my question is, will shoulders look patchy like that forever??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Other sources of light[edit]

What sources of light other than the sun cause [sun]burn? Is ultraviolet light the only source of radiation damaging to the skin that we are commonly exposed to? What effect do incandescent light bulbs, for example, have on the skin, if any? Njál 19:59, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


Not all doctors agree that UV exposure is a direct causal link to skin cancer. In fact, some studies have shown an inverse relationship.

  • Sources? QuinnHK 04:01, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

I have heard the same, an Australian study, the office workers got it more than the lifeguards or something like that.

See this:

One of the studies mentioned evaluated the supposed link between sun exposure and the chances of surviving melanoma. The researchers concluded that increased sun exposure actually increases the survival rate from melanoma.

90 percent of skin cancers are non-melanoma cancers. The most common forms are basal and squamous cell carcinomas, which are much less serious. They're benign and are easily cured by simple outpatient surgery. These are the ones caused by solar radiation. Melanomas, on the other hand, are most likely caused by lack of sunlight and excess artificial light.

Melanoma is usually 975% of the time) found in areas of the body "where the sun don't shine" and that vitamin D may be important in preventing melanoma. Such as on the feet of Afrinans.

The authors said, "Evidence is beginning to emerge that sunlight exposure, particularly as it relates to vitamin D synthesized in the skin under the influence of solar radiation, might have a beneficial influence for certain cancers."

What excessive sun exposure does do is cause injury to the inner layer of the skin, the dermis, which, in turn, leads to wrinkling of the outer layer, the epidermis. If you're thinking that that happens with age (regardless of the sun), you're right. But sun exposure can speed up the process, causing the skin to age prematurely and to become loose and leathery. This is called solar elastosis (SE).

When esearchers at the University of New Mexico investigated melanoma, they found a marked decrease in the disease in patients with solar elastosis. (This information is from one of the JNCI articles I told you about.) In other words, more sun exposure equals less incidence of melanoma. And for those patients who did have melanoma, the subsequent mortality from the disease was approximately one-half as high among those patients with signs of SE. Now, I'm no logician, but it seems to me that if SE is caused by sun exposure and if people with SE have half as much melanoma as people with normal skin, then it's logical to conclude that sunlight prevents melanoma. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aether22 (talkcontribs) 09:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I have been looking at reference 8 "sunburn causes skin cancer ... is false when it comes to malignant melanoma". The link is valid but the summary of the article seems to have nothing to do with UV radiation or sunburn. It is just a article about some specific cases of cancer including 1 melanoma which are caused by a specific mutation (BRAF). Referencing 1 specific insidence of melanoma is not a valid reference for the statement that "sunburn does not cause melanoma" so I am removing the reference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mtpaley (talkcontribs) 23:02, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Addition of Trees and Sunburn[edit]

The page starts with the strict limitation of sunburn being skin damage to humans, which is an incomplete presentation of "sunburn".

Sunburn involves sunburned tissue on humans, animals, and trees - at least. I have added TREES. The addition is placed near the beginning of the page, to avoid confusion. The broad nature of sunburn needs to be explained early in a document.

I limited the inclusion to one paragraph, because not much more need be said - maybe a little more, but not much.

We have a few photos that can be contributed, but I'm planning to wait a while before adding one of them. Only one photo should be needed, and a small image would probably serve the page's needs the best.

One External Link was added which supplies many more details and several photos of tree related sunburn.

"Sunburn" is the specific and professional term in Arboriculture for sunburn to trees. Sunscald is not the same as sunburn.

Sunburn to trees should be included in the first paragraph, or second, but it makes sense to leave the current paragraphs intact.

Mdvaden 03:00, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

There was already a very brief (very brief - one sentence) mention of sunburn to plants in the "Non-human sunburn" section. I agree though that the intro was written as though sunburn was a strictly human, or at least strictly animal, phenomon. I re-phrased the intro slightly to make it clear that sunburn applies to all living things, but then I moved the paragraph you added to the "Non-human sunburn" section and replaced the existing too-brief sentence with your paragraph. A picture of sunburned plants would be more than welcome, just make sure that it can be released under a free license. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 14:40, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I supplied a generic photo for public domain use and fitted it into the hon-human burn section. Feel free to check the grammar in the caption.

That sunburn generally occurs after noon when the sun drops down at an angle.

But the burn can happen to bark on top of branches if the top is exposed, so I tried to word the caption in a way that doesn't just mean trunks.

I added an extra sentence or two in the non-human part about the damage. I haven't figured out how to highlight and link words in the text yet, but if there is a "PRUNING" section in Wikipedia, maybe someone can link that word to that topic.

It's likely that several versions can occur to those paragraphs. I recall the International Society of Arboriculture having something called "Tree are Good" with online infomation about proper pruning that may be applicable.

Mdvaden 23:35, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

DNA damage[edit]

I have notes from a class that say that after a day in the sun, the average person has 10,000 thymidine dimers per square inch of exposed skin. I don't have a reference for that info, but I think it would be useful in the article. Ninjatacoshell 16:50, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

"First Aid"[edit]

The section sounds terrible! Please, someone rewrite it. DocRocks1 04:36, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I second that, but I'll probably get around to it soon. Status quo reeks of MD. ALTON .ıl 07:02, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Adding a link[edit]

I work for the America's Most Wanted Safety Center, a new branch of America's Most Wanted getting away from the capturing of criminals, and branching out to all aspects of safety. I feel a link to our post about keeping sunburn at bay would be appropriate and mutually beneficial. The link is please consider it. Jrosenfe 14:13, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Treatments (more)[edit]

This is a portion of WebMD's page [1] on treatments:

" Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

   * Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol or Panadol
   * Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
         o Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin
         o Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn
         o Ketoprofen
   * Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin"

The current treatment section is uncited and not written in a proper tone. Perhaps this would help? Yakwhacker 08:48, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Something really ought to be mentioned about Apolar etc. I use it whenever I get sunburnt and it helps immensely, so I don't know why nothing has been said about it... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nizingur (talkcontribs) 07:17, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Image removal[edit]

Removed image of young, tan asian man with caption: "One kind of evenly and deeply sunburn/sun tan (a Japanese male during summer)." as this is completely unsubstantiated and violates either NPOV or OR (you choose). This picture was showing someone with a tan and calling it a burn. To compare, the image of the young lady on the page obviously shows a sunburn and is perfectly acceptable. The picture of the male is not, and is misleading. Pharmboy 00:44, 12 August 2007 (UTC)


Are there any studies estimating the heritability of sunburn? (this working independently of someone's level of tanning, or level of melanin in general)

Peeling skin[edit]

Is that a symptom of first- or second-degree burns? Thanks. Xiner (talk) 15:33, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Cause of sunburn - expert input needed[edit]

"The condition occurs when incident UV radiation exceeds the existing protective capacity of melanin in the skin."

The above sentence is not really adequate to explain why sunburn occurs. What is the mechanism by which UV radiation burns the skin, and how does melanin prevent it? Why are the symptoms of UV exposure manifested as a burn, while the surface of the skin is not at a painfully high temperature during exposure? Is the burn caused by a high temperature somewhere within the skin (or inside individual cells), where UV energy has been converted to heat? Or is sunburn not a thermal burn at all? If not, why are the symptoms so similar? NB the article already explains how UV radiation causes cancer (by damaging DNA in cells), but this mechanism is presumably unrelated to the burn. Mtford 11:01, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

If anyone still cares, this explains the technical reason why the sun causes tissue death. Basically, the high-level UV radiation damages the DNA, and the cell triggers apoptosis, or programmed cell death. (talk) 06:31, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Racial bias in photos[edit]

The illustrations currently show four examples of sunburn in people of White ethnic origin. Presumably the symptoms are slightly less visible in people of other races, but it would be helpful to show a variety of natural skin colours if possible. I also wonder if the references to "redness" are applicable when a mild burn is suffered on dark skin? Mtford 11:22, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

  • My experience says yes, but it hard to see the "red" on very dark skin, although the sublayers of skin would be inflammed and red just the same, regardless of skin color. Very dark skinned people can also get farmer tan. Based on input from friends (I'm light skinned myself) it varies from person to person, just as with light skinned people. Some African Americans burn easily and quickly, some less so. The only difference is that it is easier to see on lighter skin. As for photos of medium and dark skinned people, sounds like you are volunteering to me ;) Pharmboy 14:57, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
African Americans do not burn easily nor quickly as long as they have dark skin. Lighter skin means less melanin, which means less protection from UV light, which causes sun burn. Farmer tan isn't sun burn. It's a tan. Malamockq (talk) 03:24, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I know, that is why I said "can also", ie: in addition to sunburn. Pharmboy (talk) 19:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Criticism of links[edit]

Hi, yesterday I added some text about the ability of some foods to protect against UV. I added two links to research that back up these claims. For some reason I was criticised by Pharmboy who said the links were inappropriate. Could someone tell me if he's right and why? He implied my links were advertising or related to me. They just link to abstracts of research. I am not linked to the researchers in any way. Thanks. Danpalmer65 (talk) 12:31, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Please read WP:LINKS as this is the policy. The response you received was the official templated response that is given when a link is reverted, it wasn't personal. This is most common when someone has only made one or two edits and they are all external links (that kinda sets off a red flag). If you think the link is appropriate, just bring it up in talk (here) including the actual link to the site and a short reason why you think the revert was a mistake. Mistakes do happen or people just have different ideas of what is appropriate and what is not. That is what the talk section is for, to build consensus. Pharmboy (talk) 12:45, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I am confused. The links I put up are still there. I take it by 'reverted' you mean 'taken off'. Can you confirm this? And what was taken off if so?Danpalmer65 (talk) 14:23, 28 November 2007 (UTC)


Is it just me, or can the vast majority of information in the introduction be absorbed elsewhere in the article? Also, there appears to be a conflict of opinion between the "sun burn causes cancer" and the "sun burn does not cause cancer crowd," living side-by-side in the intro. Perhaps that can be pulled out and put elsewhere? I personally think a rewrite should be considered for style. I have seen other start class articles out there that look much better than this "B-class" article. Portia1780 (talk) 10:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

OK, I gave a huge stab at weeding some of this stuff out. I moved it around and tried to improve on the neutrality of the article by balancing the POVs represented. Some studies say sunburn causes cancer, others do not. Most do say that sunburn increases the risk, however, so that shouldn't be marginalized. Certainly, the WHO is a leading authority, not a fringe group.
Meanwhile, most of the intro was absorbed into other sections. The UVA/UVB discussion was moved out as it was completely incoherent with the rest of the article, and there are summaries with links for UVA/UVB and direct and indirect DNA damage for more information if people want to go to those articles. I also put a general clean-up tag on this article, as it needs some major love. Portia1780 (talk) 11:49, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

How come you took the part ==statistical correlation versus causal connection == out of the article ? I thought it really illustrates that it is the excessive UV radiation - and not the sunburn - that leads to an increased melanoma risk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gerriet42 (talkcontribs) 19:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Hi Gerriet, I didn't take it out. I renamed it and worked it into the section on sunburn and skin cancer. When I look at the TOC for sunburn, this heading does not tell me (the average, non-chemist, non-scientific reader suffering from sunburn) anything useful. However, when you say "links between skin cancer and sunburn" I understand immdiately. Don't forget that a 6th grader should be able to understand what we're saying! (And PS, you should sign your name to your posts by using four tildes... ) Portia1780 (talk) 03:07, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

statistical vs causal relation of sunburn and melanoma[edit]

The intention of the picture is to show that a statistical correlation does not mean that "sunburn causes melanoma". If we bring the other forms of skin cancer into this picture it gets confusing and nobody understands the message any more. This picture is only about melanoma - please leave it that way.Gerriet42 (talk) 18:19, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Disputed tag for sunscreen section[edit]

I have restored my maint. tag and the breakout of the controversial content, which Gerriet42 removed. discussed on the sunscreen talk page, you should not remove these tags without resolving the NPOV issue and getting consensus on this page that the section is balanced.

Other users... please help with the POV issues in the sunscreen topic. See the Sunscreen talk page for discussion on how that article has gone off track. The same problem is creeping into this article.

O.k. I will tone it down, but I do want people to know that there is a discussion about the safety of sunscreen going on in the scientific literature, so do not just erase it. We will tone it down and come to an agreement.Gerriet42 (talk) 15:24, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

I have just read the sunsceen section, and whilst interesting it does come across as very POV. It lacks balance. There should be no firm conclusions, because there are no firm conclusions only differing interpretations. --Gingerzilla (talk) 00:19, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

When you say there are no firm conclusions you are referrring to the epidemiological studies. I agree, that those are not conclusive, because the higher melanoma risk could have been caused by the absence of UVA filters.
However, when you look at the mechanistic (photobiological) studies, you will find an overwhelming amount of evidence for photocarcinogenic properties of certain sunscreen ingredients. I suggest you read the Kerry Hanson paper from 2006. She measured higher concentrations of reactive oxygen species in the skin that was treated with sunscreen than in the untreated skin (after the sunscreen had time to penetrate into the skin). This one alone is already pretty strong evidence that harmfull effects should be expected. Gerriet42 (talk) 09:35, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Geriet 42 does have an "anti-sunscreen" agenda though, as he has altered many articles to support his POV. Some of the articles he cites do not even support his assertions and others are from dubious sources which JunkScience have done features on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Aloe Vera[edit]

Somebody should write about Aloe Vera. Why does it help? Which one helps best? And so on. There was one sentence that was introduced on 2008-05-27, but it didn't fit in the section so I removed it again. Gerriet42 (talk) 09:39, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

temporary for me . Just gives the feeling of cooling for a few minutes.
Yeah, I have sunburn now and a tube of Aloe Vera - it works for about an hour before I need to reapply. And in case you were wondering, it's perfectly possible to sunburn the back of your hands.Shtanto (talk) 17:53, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Removing the dubious tag, and inserting this reference instead. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:02, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Treatment section is wrong[edit]

Lidocaine and Benzocaine are local anesthetics. They are PAIN RELIEVERS.

They WILL NOT hurt healing and are important for pain relief. Solarcaine is an example sold in stores. FDA syas they're ok. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ericg33 (talkcontribs) 02:52, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

The Merck Manual says don't use topical corticosteroids for severe sunburn. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
You got some sources for any of these claims? --Orange Mike | Talk 13:32, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
My source is the FDA. They allow Lidocaine to be sold for burns on their label. Good enough for you? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ericg33 (talkcontribs) 23:47, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
No. According to Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D., who is cited elsewhere in the article:

Beware of sunburn treatment products containing anesthetics, such as benzocaine. There's little evidence that these products are effective. In some cases, they may even irritate the skin.[1]

Just because the FDA allows something doesn't make it effective, nor does that mean there is scientific evidence that it works. It just means it isn't [too] dangerous. -- Charles Stover 05:22, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
MedlinePlus' sunburn entry specifically recommends avoiding products that contain lidocaine, benzocaine or petroleum. Cemurphy (talk) 17:49, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

General comments about the contents of this page[edit]

IMHO this page is terrible - it fails in almost every way. There is a heavy emphasis on sun creams, all that is required is a single link to Similary for ozone depletion, it is secondary to the topic so should just be a reference. The sentence 'Sunburn can also be caused by pharmaceutical products' is clearly wrong, sunburn is not caused by the products - it is merely that they increase the sensitivity of the skin to UV. The 'Weasel Words' tag is an understatement, someone has been loading the entire page with an anti suncream slant.

Can anyone justify the bias towards suncream related issues? If not then I think this page needs some serious pruning.

Mtpaley (talk) 21:17, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

If anything this page is getting worse. It has become a flame war which has entirely taken over the entire article. I seriously think that the way to go is removing 90% of the sunscreen stuff and leaving a simple link. Does anyone else agree?

Mtpaley (talk) 23:12, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

"Note that the intensity of redness does not necessarily correspond to the degree of skin damage." Is this true? It certainly seems to correspond to the degree of pain which I would normally correlate with the degree of skin damage. I think this is a reference required Mtpaley (talk) 17:15, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

"According to The Patient Poll, a poll of Pennsylvania adults conducted by The Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society, more than 60 percent of Pennsylvanians indicated that they rarely wore sunscreen. The Patient Poll also showed that males were less likely to wear sunscreen than females.[29]" What is this doing here? It comes out of nowhere, and tells us nothing of any importance. Who cares about the sunscreen habits of Pennsylvanians in particular? Is it a joke? ( (talk) 12:44, 13 May 2010 (UTC))

Ozone depletion[edit]

Look at a map showing ozone depletion, there is no hole over Australia, and certainly not over Queensland. The hole is over the Antarctic, which is a long way from tropical Queensland. Constan69 (talk) 12:15, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Non Human Sunburn section must be removed[edit]

Guys, arguments aside, this section has just been here far too long without citation of any kind! Nearly two years with "information" floating without backup. This just is not healthy in an encyclopedia. I'm sorry if you were the authors of this and believe it to be so, but if there is any truth to the content of that section, then BACK IT UP SOMEHOW and don't leave it as is for so long. Please be a little more vigilant on behalf of encyclopedic integrity.Tgm1024 (talk) 16:11, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

First day of Summer statistic highly questionable[edit]

The statement about the amount of sunlight received in any given location being the same on the first day of summer as an area 2600 km towards the equator on the first day of spring really doesn't mean anything, or prove anything, it should be removed. All it does is create confusion.Fireemblem555 (talk) 07:40, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Even if it were relevant, it makes too many assumptions, and has no citations.Fireemblem555 (talk) 07:42, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

"A" Sunburn?[edit]

Who says "I've got a Sunburn? You just tend to say "Sunburn", so I've removed the "a" from the main image caption. I don't care if it's grammatically correct or not - nobody says it, so it shouldn't be used in the encyclopedia of Human knowledge. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm not fixing your correction, because I don't care; but your idea of what "everybody" does is extremely and obviously biased to your region. I have never once in my life heard, "I have got sunburn" or "I have sunburn." That sounds as English-illiterate as "I have cat." Any time I have ever heard references to sunburns, it has been "a sunburn," because that's what it is - a single sunburn. The fact that you are so sure that your regional reference for sunburns (and who knows what other words) is international and globally accepted in the English language worries me that you actually go around editing Wikipedia articles to reflect it. "Nobody says it," is completely and utterly false. For example, the person who originally added it to the article says it. -- Charles Stover 05:15, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
Depends on your dialect. Sunburn is the way it's said here in Ireland and the UK.Shtanto (talk) 17:57, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
No-one says “I have a sunburn” or “I have sunburn”. Everyone says “I am sunburnt”. If they want to use noun form of the word sunburn everyone says something like “sunburn is horrible”. And before you protest – of course I’m right – I come from Australia, the global epicentre of “sunburn”. SHeesh! (although most sunburnt people here are clueless British or Irish backpackers). --Merbabu (talk) 04:52, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Evolutionary sunburn[edit]

I removed this sentence:

On an evolutionary level, sunburn may have developed as a warning signal that deters humans from sun seeking behaviour, which induces infertility.[1]

The wording reflects a rather teleological view of evolution, in which evolution "does things" in pursuit of a particular goal. Sunburn is just a physical fact -- when skin is irradiated by heat for a long period of time, it is damaged. What is probably evolutionary is the prevalence of darker skin tones in tropical regions. Something like this should be put into the article instead.

Teological sounding arguments are common in evolutionary biology. Live with it. --Michael C. Price talk 07:16, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Common is not a synonym for correct, or appropriate for wikipedia. (talk) 08:55, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Shouldn't ethnicity be a risk factor[edit]

I'm pretty confident that lighter skinned peolpe are more like to sunburn .. so shouldn't that be listed as a factor. i don't have any expertise in this, so i don't want to add it myself, but aybe someone else could. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:43, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Broken Citation[edit]

The citation "^ a b MedlinePlus Encyclopedia Sunburn first aid" leads to a 404 error. It should either be removed from the article or updated with a working link. -- Charles Stover 05:07, 1 May 2011 (UTC)


The consensus in this discussion is to not utilize the image in the article's lead section. NorthAmerica1000 04:19, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section of this talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

A sunburnt female that was partially protected by a bathing suit.

Should this be our lead image?


There are other versions with nipples and vagina pixelated / covered. I think this image shows more of the effect of sun on the entire body than the current image. So if nudity is the issue I could revert to a censored version

Not a big fan of pixelation. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 07:30, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Conditional support. The picture as it stands is an excellent example of a fresh case of sunburn. The nudity is totally irrelevant clinically, but to my mind adds to the impact: "Would you like to look humiliatingly, and highly believably, like this???" However, if anyone gets traumatised at the idea of the assorted things that skin covers, let them present a more effective photograph (or better still, a series of photos showing 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree burns, preferably with follow-ups} without a naked woman for illustration. (A naked man would do, or possibly just his naked upper half with burnt arms etc...) JonRichfield (talk) 16:16, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
I have just taken time out to check Wikimedia and the photos already in the article. The extra photos in the article include some useful material, but none in Wikimedia has better impact in context than this photo has. If anyone REALLY cannot handle the irrelevant mammary, gluteal and pudendal details, I could get someone to edit in a G-string and nipple caps where they don't interfere with the relevant material and contrasts. The part that really matters of course, is already omitted, namely the recognisable part of the face. JonRichfield (talk) 16:36, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The nudity helps in this case because it shows the contrast between unburned and burned skin.To those opposed because they think the nudity is gratuitous but are not concerned about nudity: please reconsider. (bot invited) Jojalozzo 17:43, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • conditional support per JonRichfield. If nothing better can be found this is a far clearer and more comprehensive image than those in the article. That it's nude doesn't matter; it's the body in its natural state, not a sexual image, far from it, and WP is not censored. Readers who might be offended need not click on it to maximise it. In its thumbnail form you can barely make out the bits that would be covered by pixelation.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 21:46, 23 July 2014 (UTC)


  • One does not need an image of a naked women to show a sunburn. Thus the nakedness adds nothing to the image and I am not supportive. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 01:59, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
I fully agree that one does not need an image of a naked women to show a sunburn; the point is that of all those we have seen available, this one (pair) is far and away the most illustrative of fresh sunburn. As for prudence, If you really are bothered, you could put it further down the page. But really, if you were choosing pictures for a clinical manual, which would you choose? And if there, why not here? JonRichfield (talk) 17:26, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per Doc James - Nudity in this case seems to add nothing, and might be a little more explicit than what most readers would be expecting when coming to an article about "Sunburn". I'm not usually a fan of censorship, but here it might be prudent. NickCT (talk) 13:50, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per Doc James. Although I wouldn't want any part of this picture pixelated, the nudity is distracting and isn't what people would expect when they come here for an article on sunburn. --Ca2james (talk) 00:56, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose full nudity is not necessary to illustrate the concept.--Aflafla1 (talk) 15:27, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose (I'm here at Legobot's invitation.) There's nothing wrong with nudity if it somehow enhances the reader's understanding. But this is gratuitous. EEng (talk) 00:13, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There's nothing wrong with the picture, but the nudity is so gratuitous that I think it may be shocking for some readers. Better to just find a less gratuitous picture than to pointlessly court controversy. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 04:58, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Better images are surely available. Not a quality lead image. Hafspajen (talk) 11:46, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
I have no objection to a better image (actually a series of better images, because no single image could reasonably be adequate for such a transient condition and its after-effects) but I don't know where to get them. The nude picture is far and away the best that I saw in Wikimedia. JonRichfield (talk) 19:43, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose – I seem to be a little late, but I echo the thoughts of others here. There is easily a better picture than that. United States Man (talk) 00:31, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
So? Then why keep us in suspense? Show us. If it really IS better AND available I am sure we all would go for it.JonRichfield (talk) 17:49, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm even later here, but I can see the concept quite clearly in the current lead image, and I'm not seeing it any more clearly in the one proposed here. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:16, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Developing immunity?[edit]

Are there any cases of developing immunity to sunburn? I thought I was the only one until I read section #16 of this page.

I remembered getting sunburn once. I was out in the sun in the early afternoon for a couple of hours at the beach and then I had a light sunburn for a couple of days. I do similar stunts like that all the time but I've never gotten sunburnt again. I am fully Chinese. I was born with very fair skin for a Chinese person and have gotten really tan because of where I live. My skin looked like Middle Eastern skin at some point. Maybe it was because I got tanned that I never got sunburnt again. But I moved from the tropical area that I lived in to Canada and my skin returned to its original paleness after a year. I still don't ever get sunburnt, even after hours in the afternoon sun and I never use sunscreen. Does anyone know why this happens? — Preceding unsigned comment added by WikiMeilee (talkcontribs) 19:16, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Sunburn and Solar erythema[edit]

The Sunburn article and Solar erythema one do not clearly state difference between them (even though the Solar erythema one point out "not to be confused with sunburn"). Please elucidate. -- (talk) 22:19, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Dangerous hours[edit]

«The World Health Organization recommends to limit time in midday summer sun (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.)» -- which dangerous period is this? Is this period expressed in solar time, Local Mean Time, Winter Time or Summer Time hours? — Orlando F (talk) 12:30, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

A see also section?[edit]


Why isn't there a "see also" section in this article? Several articles could be put there, maybe based on the points raised in the talk page.

Thanks Amanouz (talk) 15:29, 4 August 2016 (UTC)