Sun Poisoning in Women : Symptoms & Treatments


Sun poisoning here does not imply for any form of poisoning. It is rather a fancy term for the severe case of sun burns and important to note here is that sun poisoning is a form of allergic reaction that occurs when skin has been exposed to strong UV rays for too long. Women are quite frequently exposed to sun poisoning as they enjoy having a nice, golden tan on the beaches.

Sun poisonings are a very common experience and the frequency of such cases reported too is quite high. This is because despite the warnings and information, people often ignore it all and is subjected to skin damage by the sun rays.

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A Guide for Sun Poisoning in Women

sun poisoning

What are the causes for sun poisoning?

Sun poisoning is basically your skin’s reaction on having been exposed to the sun for a long period of time thus it poisonings, turning red and irritated.

Sun poisonings are caused by the UVA and UVB rays of the sun which penetrate your skin and damage it eventually. It can also lead to premature aging of your skin, by altering your DNA and it may even sometimes lead to skin cancers of which the most severe is melanoma.


Some medications such as anti – depressants, antibiotics, birth control pills, diuretics, etc can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays.

Moreover, the likeliness and intensity of a sun poisoning development depends on these factors:

  • The sun’s intensity
  • The duration of exposure to sun
  • Your skin type; women with lighter complexion are more likely to develop sun poisoning in a shorter duration of exposure than women with darker complexion.

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What are the symptoms of sun poisoning?

The symptoms of sun burns persist in sun poisoning too but they are usually more severe and last for longer time. These symptoms include:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Pain and tingling sensation
  • Swelling
  • Dehydration
  • Headache
  • Skin may be itchy
  • The skin may later peel off
  • Sun burn can be accompanied with nausea and fever too.

Other symptoms that can be noticed in sun poisoning along with the symptoms of sun burns are:

How can you prevent sun poisoning?

Prevention is indeed the best cure. Most of the cases of sun poisoning occur due to ignorance on the part of the individual to the potential damages that the sun’s rays can inflict on the skin. Here are some prevention tips you can employ to save yourself from the deleterious effects of sun poisoning:

  • Limit your exposure to the sun in between 10 am to 2 pm for this is the time when the intensity of the sun’s ray are at the maximum, in general.
  • Remember that water, snow and sand can increase the intensity of the sun’s rays and cause more harm.
  • Wear a sunscreen of SPF 30 at least which says ‘broad – spectrum’ as this would protect against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. You should put this on the exposed parts of your body at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to going out and do not forget to reapply every 2 hours or after you’ve been in water or sweating.
  • You can also choose to wear hat, sunglasses and protective clothing.
  • Avoid the use of tanning beds as this is not recommended by most medical experts.

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How can you treat sun poisoning?

The main aspects of treating sun poisoning or sun burns are two – relieving the reddening of the inflamed skin and easing the pain.

Here are some home remedies that you can try to achieve these:

  • Apply cold compresses to the skin affected. You can also take a cold water bath to help relieve the burn.
  • Try to stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and other fluids too as the chances of dehydration with sun poisoning is common.
  • You can apply a soothing gel or cream containing any of the following ingredients – Camphor, Aloe and Menthol. You can enhance the benefit by refrigerating the cream first and then applying it on the affected skin.
  • Avoid the sun until your burn heals.
  • You can also take certain NSAIDs to help relieve the pain such as ibuprofen or naproxen

You can also choose to get medical advice if your symptoms are severe and are deteriorating further. The treatment methods involved are:

  • Light therapy or Phototherapy – Here, the skin is exposed to certain wavelengths of light. This would help in slowing the growth of damaged skin cells and mainly help in relieving the pain and management of symptoms.
  • Drug therapy – Although highly uncommon form of therapy it is suggested to those who are highly sensitive to light and for them light therapy is not an option.
  • Apply clean, damp dressing on the blisters or open wounds to help heal them. This would also help reduce the risk of infections.


Sun poisoning is similar to sun burns but is an allergic reaction to longer duration of exposure to the sun’s rays and is also quite severe when compared to sun burns. They are caused by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays which penetrate the skin and damage it.


Quite frequently experienced symptoms are redness of the skin, itching, pain, blisters. Other symptoms are fever, chills, rashes, hives, headaches, nausea and dehydration.

Sun poisoning can be prevented by using sunscreens which are SPF 30 or more indicated as this would provide protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays; you can also wear protective clothing – hat and sunglasses and limit your exposure to the sun in between 10 am to 2 pm.

There are certain home remedies that you can apply for treating sun poisoning such as – applying cold compress, taking a cold bath, staying hydrated, using gels or creams and taking NSAIDs if required. Light therapy and drug therapy can also be given as medical intervention to severe cases of sun poisoning.


Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!