Soothing a Baby's Sunburn

Dr. Alan Greene answers the question, How should I treat my baby's sunburn?

Question

What is the best thing to put on my child's sunburn to help soothe it and promote healing?

Answer

With sunburn or any other burn, there can be ongoing damage as long as the skin is hot, so cooling off is wise, such as in a lukewarm bath. Once you've cooled off, the greatest ongoing damage comes from the skin drying out, so a soothing moisturizer is good for as long as the burn lasts. I like using one with aloe vera in it. Cool compresses are great, followed by moisturizer containing aloe and/or vitamin E oil.

As for the "caine" remedies for sunburn pain, I'm not a big fan. They can cause allergic reactions and don't work all that well.

I like ibuprofen for the pain. It works best when the pain is caused by inflammation (red, tender, hot, or swollen tissue.) It is anti-inflammatory so it stops the pain at the site of the inflammation. Acetaminophen can work instead or in addition, but it does not help inflammation. It just works at the pain centers in the brain.

 
Baby Care Basics: Baby Sunburn Treatment
Baby Care Basics: Baby Sunburn Treatment

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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