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Durée coups de soleil.

How Long Does a Sunburn Last?

Necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D and to fight against depression, the sun also presents many dangers for your health. Indeed, exposure to the sun's UVB rays can cause sunburns. Depending on the severity of the burn, the healing time of the sunburn varies. Find out how long the different types of sunburns last.

Published March 4, 2024, by Sandrine, Scientific Editor — 6 min read

What Is a Sunburn?

UVB rays, which penetrate the dermis, are responsible for tanning and sunburn, also called actinic erythema. At the skin level, a sunburn manifests itself by a burn causing redness, pain with itching (pruritus) and the possible appearance of blisters. This reaction appears 8 to 24 hours after exposure to the sun.

It is important to note that sunburn can occur without direct exposure to the sun. UVB rays are present in all weather conditions and are reflected by water, sand and snow.

Sunburns increase the risk of premature skin aging and the development of skin cancers, especially melanoma, due to UVA and UVB rays that are genotoxic (ability of a radiation to compromise the physical or functional integrity of the genome).

The healing time of a sunburn varies according to the degree of the burn.

The Different Types of Sunburns and Their Healing Times.

The severity of sunburns depends on their extent, their intensity, their localization, as well as the age of the person. The healing time is different depending on the degree of the burn. There are three types of sunburns:

  • Sunburn with a first degree burn:

    This type of sunburn is characterized by the presence of bright red and painful lesions on the surface of the epidermis and the absence of blisters. Afterwards, a more or less significant desquamation is observed. Healing time is 2 to 7 days without leaving any markings or scars, as long as the skin is properly taken care of.

  • Sunburn with a second degree superficial burn:

    The signs are identical to the first degree burn with the presence of blisters filled with a transparent liquid on the epidermis. General symptoms may be observed such as headache and fever. These signs may indicate a heat stroke or dehydration. In this case, the healing will be longer and takes 1 to 2 weeks with a risk of spots and scars that may take time to disappear.

  • Sunburns with a deep second degree burn:

    This is the most severe case. The blisters have a pale appearance due to the destruction of the blood vessels. Contrary to the other two types of sunburn, here the pain is weak because the nerve fibers have been burned. Healing will take 1 month with a risk of persistent scars.

Please note: Do not hesitate to consult your dermatologist for an optimal treatment.

The Right Steps To Take After a Sunburn.

  • First of all, the burned area must be cooled down in order to relieve the pain and prevent it from spreading further. If you do not have a fever or chills, take a cold shower or bath for 15 minutes. If the affected area is small, you can apply wet compresses for 15 to 30 minutes.

  • Then apply a moisturizing cream or gel. Our moisturizing gel soothes and moisturizes the skin with aloe vera gel and bisabolol. Its fresh effect is ideal for calming the skin after sun exposure and preventing itching. It also contains orange blossom hydrolate which is a powerful antioxidant. It will protect the skin and promote its regeneration.

  • Avoid any further prolonged and repeated exposure to sunlight during the healing time.

  • Apply a sun cream adapted to your phototype on a daily basis, even when there is no sunlight! Our sunscreens offer broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. In addition, facial sunscreens moisturize and soothe the skin with aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.

  • Wear covering clothing to protect the affected area.

  • Rehydrate your body.  Drinking water is crucial for sunburn. Hydration contributes to faster healing. So, it is essential to drink more than usual (2 liters minimum).

  • Let regeneration take its course. After a sunburn, the skin will regenerate naturally. Avoid poking the blisters (risk of infection) or scratching the peeling skin to remove it.

Sources :

  • BERTHELEMY S. Conseil à un patient se plaignant d'un coup de soleil. Actualités Pharmaceutiques (2013).

  • YUENG H. & al. Sunburn frequency and risk and protective factors : a cross-sectional survey. Dermatology Online Journal (2021).


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