Last updated on November 13th, 2021
Sunbeds have become hugely popular in recent years, especially in countries such as here in the UK where exposure to sunlight is often a luxury. Research has shown that moderate sun exposure offers an array of benefits, from building stronger bones and a healthier immune system to improving sleep and mood. Sunbeds provide a way to get some benefits of sunlight during those long, dark days when you barely get a glimpse of the sun.
Disclaimer: Our solicitors process sunbed tanning injury claims for our clients, however they are not medically trained and therefore the following content shouldn’t be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have suffered burns from a sunbed and need qualified expert medical advice we would strongly advise calling the National Health Service on 111, or if it is an emergency you should call 999.
It’s not health benefits that draw most people towards using sunbeds however. Many people use sunbeds to get that trendy year-round tanned look.
In moderation and with the proper use and precautions, sunbeds can help you get a head-start on your holiday tan so you won’t look pale when you hit the beach in the summer. However, just like overexposure to the natural rays of the sun, overexposure to sunbed bulbs too can result in burns and because the bulbs used emit concentrated UV light, these burns can be far worse.
Symptoms Of Sunbed Burns
The symptoms of sunbed burns may range from redness and sensitivity to temperature to tenderness, pain, peeling, and blistering. While the symptoms will go away eventually without treatment, it can take a long time during which you will likely be in some degree of discomfort and pain. There are several home remedies as well as commercial products that work very well to soothe the painful sensations.
As with any other type of burn injuries, the most important thing to do is to bring down the temperature of the skin. The longer you wait to do this, the longer the heat will act on your skin, resulting in more severe burn injuries.
How To Treat Sunbed Burns
Here are a few things you can do immediately to treat a sunbed burn and then over the next few days or weeks, depending on the extent of the burn.
- Apply cold water to cool the skin down
If you are at home, the best thing to do is place the area that is burned under cool running water for a few minutes or wrap in a cool damp towel. If you are burnt all over, stand under a shower and let the cool water run over your body.
Be gentle, both with the temperature of the water and the pressure. If the water is too cold, you could go into shock. Too much water pressure will irritate the affected area causing it to become more painful.
- Apply aftersun cream such as Aloe Vera to soothe the skin
Aftersun creams and lotions such as Aloe Vera lotion will help with cooling down the skin. Many people keep Aloe Vera plants in their homes for several different purposes.
If you have an Aloe Vera plant at home, cut one of the leaves from the plant and rub the aloe sap directly onto the burn for cooling relief. Do this several times a day with a freshly cut leaf to soothe the itching and pain and help the skin heal faster.
If you do not have an Aloe Vera plant at home as most people will not, aloe vera lotion should work just as well. Apply the lotion gently over the affected area several times a day.
- Drink plenty of water
Staying rehydrated is one of the most overlooked aspects of sunbed burn treatment. It’s just not something everybody thinks about but drinking plenty of water helps your body and skin to stay hydrated, which speeds up the healing process.
If you’re suffering with pain then you can take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to lessen the effects. Of course you should always follow the instructions to any medication you may take.
Home Remedies For Sunbed Burns Relief
Peeling and blisters are both part of the body’s natural healing mechanism but the process can be slow, and meanwhile the peeling and blisters can act as irritants. You must be careful not to forcefully pull off the flaky skin or burst the blisters as they can cause additional pain, and can even cause infection and scarring.
Applying cucumber or tomato slices over the peeling or blistered area can help to soothe the skin so it can continue to heal gently. Another tip is to soak a flannel in cold milk and apply it directly over the area.
See A Doctor
While it’s okay to treat mild burns using any of the above home remedies, you must get proper medical treatment if your burns are more severe and accompanied by large blisters or if you have a fever.
How To Avoid Sunbed Burns
Ideally, you should take all precautions to avoid sunbed burns instead of having to resort to treating them.
These few tips will help you avoid getting burnt during your next visit to the tanning salon.
- Only visit a reputable, licensed salon – Because skin cancer and complications from sunbed burns are more and more prevalent, make sure the salon is not only reputable, but licensed to use such equipment. Unlicensed salons are more likely to have unqualified personnel operating the equipment, increasing the risk of getting burned.
- Use a sun screen – Yes, you still need to use a sun screen when using a sunbed to get a tan. Though some people may opt to use an SPF with a lower number, sun screen is always advisable when trying to get a tan, especially with a sunbed.
- Do your homework – Read up on what happens during a tanning session and what are the safe practices associated with it. When you book a session, ask questions so you are aware of all the risks involved and know what to do in case something goes wrong.
- Follow the aftercare instructions faithfully – After your tanning session on a sunbed, you will be given instructions about what to do and what not to go based on your skin type. Following these instructions is important.
- Avoid direct sun exposure during the days following a tanning session- Your skin has been subjected to direct heat during the tanning session. Now you need to give it the time it needs to cool down. If you expose your skin to direct sunlight prematurely, you could suffer delayed sunburn injuries, which can be just as painful.
- Apply cooling after-sun lotion regularly – This will help keep the skin soft and speed up the healing process.
Sunbed burns can be treated but you shouldn’t have to go through the pain. It’s far better to take appropriate measures to prevent sunbed burns altogether.
If you have received sunbed burns because of the negligence of a tanning salon you may have a claim for compensation for which you can find more information here.