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Skin Turned White After Sunburn

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I recently spent a week in Florida. When I returned home I realized that the skin on my back was peeling. It then turned almost completely white. It has been about two weeks and it has not healed yet. The skin is still white. I was wondering if it will go away and what I can do to make it go away faster.
Signed: Skin Turned White After Sunburn

Dear Skin Turned White After Sunburn,

 

What you described sounds like the ways that skin responds to a sunburn. A typical sunburn includes redness, swelling, pain, blisters and peeling on the burned area. Sunburns usually take from 3 days to 3 weeks to heal.

 

However, TeenHealthFX is reluctant to say this is the sole problem. To get a definitive diagnosis you will need to see a doctor. Your doctor will be able to tell you what your condition is and how it should be treated.

 

You should know repeated sunburn could eventually cause wrinkles, brown spots on the skin and skin cancer. To keep from getting sunburned you should:

  • Use sunscreen with sun protector factor (SPF) of 30 or higher for UVA and UVB rays. Apply it 15-30 minutes before you go out in the sun and use a sunscreen on your lips. Use water-resistant sunscreens and reapply every 2 to 3 hours (more often if you are swimming or sweating).
  • Try to stay out of the sun between noon and 3 p.m.
  • If you burn easily, wear shirts with long sleeves, pants, a hat and shoes. Wear sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection.
  • Do not use tanning machines they may increase your risk for skin cancer. If you do use them cover your eyes because closing your eyes wearing sunglasses or cotton eye patches do not provide enough protection.
  • Some medications can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Ask your doctor about the effects of medications you are taking.

Please do not think that TeenHealthFX is being over cautious, as the sun can and will do damage to unprotected skin.

 

If you have any concerns about skin damage you should consult a doctor. Our readers who live in northern New Jersey can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center For Health at 973.889.6350 for an appointment.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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