What Is Peeling of Sunburn Skin? 10 Helpful Facts to Know

peeling of sunburn skin
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What is peeling of sunburn skin? To know that answer, we need to know more about sunburn.

Sunburn of the skin is a common condition when the skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. While sunburn can be uncomfortable and painful, it usually heals on its own within a few days to a week.

One common symptom of sunburn is peeling of the skin, which occurs as the body tries to repair the damage caused by UV radiation.

In this article, we will explore the causes of sunburned skin peeling, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

what is peeling of sunburn skin
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1. What Is Peeling of Sunburn Skin?

When the skin is exposed to UV radiation from the sun, it damages the DNA in the skin cells, leading to inflammation and cell death. This damage triggers the body’s immune system to send white blood cells to the affected area to remove the damaged cells and repair the skin. As a result, the skin becomes red, chappy, and painful.

However, after a few days, the body starts to shed dead skin cells and replace them with new ones. This process is what causes the peeling of sunburned skin.

The severity of the sunburn and the amount of peeling can vary depending on several factors, including:

1.1. The Individual’s Skin Type

People with fair and sensitive skin are more vulnerable to sunburns than those with darker skin.

1.2. The Duration and Intensity of the Sun Exposure

The longer and more intense the sun exposure, the greater the risk of sunburn and subsequent peeling.

1.3. Whether or Not the Individual Took Steps to Protect their Skin

Wearing protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, and applying sunscreen can help to minimize sun damage and reduce the risk of sunburn.

2. How to Treat Peeling of Sunburned Skin?

While peeling sunburned skin is a natural part of the healing process, it can be uncomfortable and unsightly.

Here are some tips to help treat peeling skin after a sunburn:

2.1. Keep the Skin Hydrated

Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream to the affected area several times a day to help keep the skin hydrated and reduce itching and flaking.

2.2. Take Cool Baths or Showers

Cool water can help to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.

2.3. Avoid Picking or Scratching the Skin

While it can be tempting to pick at the peeling skin, this can increase the risk of infection and delay the healing process.

2.4. Use Over-The-Counter Pain Relief

If the sunburn is painful, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to reduce discomfort.

It is important to note that if the sunburn is severe and the skin is blistered or oozing, it may be a sign of a second-degree burn. In this case, it is important to seek medical attention to avoid infection and further damage to the skin.

peeling of sunburn skin
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3. How to Prevent Peeling of Sunburned Skin cells?

Preventing sunburn is the best way to avoid peeling of sunburned skin.

Here are some tips to help prevent sunburn:

3.1. Wear Protective Clothing

When spending time outdoors, wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats.

3.2. Apply Sunscreen

Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

3.3. Seek Shade

When possible, seek shade under a tree or umbrella to minimize sun exposure.

3.4. Avoid Peak Sun Hours

The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to avoid spending time outdoors during this.

4. Why Peeling of Sunburned Skin Should Be Taken Seriously?

While peeling sunburned skin is a normal part of the healing process, it can also be a sign of more serious skin damage. Repeated exposure to UV radiation from the sun can cause long-term damage to the skin, including premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.

In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just five sunburns over the course of a lifetime can double a person’s risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

In addition to the immediate discomfort and unsightly appearance of sunburned skin peeling, it is important to take steps to prevent future sun damage and protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. This includes not only wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen, but also being aware of the signs of skin cancer and regularly checking the skin for any unusual moles, spots, or lesions.


peeling of sunburn skin
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5. Other Factors That Can Cause Skin Peeling

While sunburn is a common cause of skin peeling, other factors can cause the skin to peel. These include

5.1. Dry Skin

When the skin becomes too dry, it can start to flake and peel. This can be caused by cold weather, low humidity, and harsh soaps or detergents.

5.2. Allergic Reactions

Some people may experience skin peeling as a result of an allergic reaction to a particular substance, such as a medication, cosmetic, or household product.

5.3. Infections

Certain skin infections, such as an athlete’s foot, can cause the skin to peel.

5.4. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis, can cause the skin to peel.

If you are experiencing skin peeling and are unsure of the cause, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions and determine the best course of treatment.


Peeling of sunburned skin is a common occurrence, but it can also be a sign of more serious skin damage. By taking steps to prevent sunburn and protect the skin from UV radiation, we can minimize the risk of skin peeling and other long-term damage to the skin.

If you do experience sunburned skin peeling, remember to keep the skin hydrated, avoid picking or scratching, and seek medical attention if necessary. With proper care and attention, the skin can heal and return to its healthy, radiant state.

Read remedies for sunburn, here.

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