A day in the sun is great, but too much sun exposure could leave you with a nasty sunburn, sun poisoning, and even sunburn blisters.

Sunburn blisters are small, painful blisters that form on the skin after severe sunburn. Sunburn bubbles will typically show up on the skin a day after being exposed to the sun, but it can take up to a week for them to disappear. 

If you’ve burnt your skin to a crisp and blisters are showing up, don’t freak out! While sunburn blisters are painful, with the right care, they usually heal by themselves.

Here at Babo Botanicals, we’re all about sun safety and good skin care! In this article, we’ll tell you the signs and symptoms of sunburn blisters as well as how to treat them. And, because no one wants to get those awful blisters again, we’ll also go over how to prevent them.

Pretty much everyone knows what a mild, run-of-the-mill sunburn looks and feels like: pink or red skin that’s tender to the touch and peels off a couple of days later.

But, when you develop sunburn blisters, it means that the sun’s UV rays have left you with a second-degree burn. This is a severe sunburn.

Symptoms Of Sunburn Blisters

What do these blisters look and feel like? Here are four ways to know that you’re dealing with sunburn blisters.

1) Development After Sun Exposure

In general, sunburn is at its worst around 24 hours after sun exposure. Similarly, you can notice sunburn blisters pop up anywhere between a few hours up to one day after being outside.

2) White Or Clear Lesions

Sunburn blisters are small, clear or white, and filled with fluid. You might have a cluster of tiny blisters that covers a large area of skin.

A blister that’s half an inch in diameter or bigger is considered a large blister.

3) Red, Swollen Skin

Since sunburn blisters are the direct result of severe sunburn, in addition to the blisters, you’ll also have all of the other typical signs of a severe sunburn.

The skin around the blisters will be red and maybe a bit swollen.

4) Pain And Itching

Sunburn is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Blisters are, undoubtedly, painful as well, but the pain will likely be more severe with blisters than with a simple sunburn.

You might also notice that your blisters are extremely itchy.

Additional Complications

In addition to the symptoms discussed above, there are various other complications that you can experience from sunburn blisters, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Chills and fevers
  • Dizziness
  • Severe sunburn

These symptoms are typically due to an infection that was caused by picking or popping the sunburn boils. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical infection because they can worsen and lead to scarring. 

When To Call A Doctor

A mild sunburn doesn’t require care from a doctor, but a severe sunburn sometimes does! There are three reasons to call a doctor about your sunburn blisters.

If You Have An Infected Blister

While painful, sunburn blisters usually heal by themselves and don’t require a trip to see the doc. The problem is when a blister becomes infected, which is more likely to happen if it pops.

If you notice red streaks around your blister or pus (a white or yellowish liquid) coming out, it’s time to call the doctor.

If You Have Sun Poisoning

Sun poisoning is another reason to seek medical attention. If you’re suffering from a sunburn that’s severe enough to develop blisters, sun poisoning is certainly not out of the question!

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Severe pain or swelling

If You’re Unsure

It’s not too hard to figure out whether or not you have sunburn blisters — if those fluid-filled lesions crop up a few hours after your day in the sun, it’s a pretty sure bet!

But if you’re concerned about them or unsure whether the bumps on your skin are sunburn blisters or something else, make an appointment to see a doctor or dermatologist right away.

Better safe than sorry!

Treating Sunburn Blisters

A severe sunburn leaves you at more of a risk for developing skin cancer. This is one reason why sun protection is so important!

But as far as the blisters go, you can usually count on them to heal by themselves in about a week, though you may be left with scars.

What’s the best way to care for your blisters and the rest of your sunburned skin in the meantime? Let’s take a look.

1) Don’t Pick Or Peel The Blisters

As annoying and painful as blisters can be, don’t pick or peel them! If you open a blister, there’s a higher chance of it becoming infected, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen.

If you have an especially big blister that is painful or getting in the way and you just have to get rid of it, pop it by carefully pricking the base of the blister with a sterilized needle. Then gently press on the blister to remove the fluid.

2) Keep A Popped Blister Covered

Whether you popped the blister or it did so by itself, once it’s open, your job is to keep it covered. Apply antibiotic ointment and put a bandage on.

3) Cool Off

Your sunburned skin will feel better if you cool off a bit. Take a cool shower or bath, or apply a cold compress (like a washcloth soaked in cool water). Just don’t put ice directly on your sunburnt skin. When you shower or bathe, use a gentle soap that won’t irritate your already-damaged skin. 

4) Apply After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Gel

After spending all day in the hot sun, the best thing you can do for your skin is to apply an aloe vera gel. Aloe vera is great for treating first- and second-degree burns, which include sunburns and mild sunburn blisters. 

This is because aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory, which helps to relieve redness and swelling. Aloe vera is also very soothing and hydrating, so it can help your skin heal faster and relieve some of the pain from the sunburn blisters.

You can cool, heal, and hydrate your burnt skin by applying Babo Botanicals After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Gel.

This quick-absorbing gel contains organic aloe vera juice as well as green tea, witch hazel, arnica, and eucalyptus oil to treat your parched skin to all sorts of goodness!

Our cooling gel forms a protective barrier to retain moisture in your skin and promote healing. Plus, it’s a plant-based formula and specially designed for sensitive skin, so you can be sure you aren’t putting any harsh chemicals or irritants on your already-damaged skin.

5) Take Ibuprofen

Sunburns can be pretty painful. Add blisters on top of it and you’re probably hurting! Take ibuprofen to calm swelling and ease some of the pain.

6) Stay Out Of The Sun

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth saying: stay out of the sun! Your blistered skin is already damaged from those UV rays. Any more sun exposure will only make things worse.

Avoid being outside, and stay away from the tanning bed. If you have to be in the sun, cover up with loose clothing that won’t hurt your blisters but will protect you from the sun’s strong rays.

7) Stay Hydrated

While lotion hydrates your skin from the outside-in, a big glass of water hydrates your skin from the inside-out! Because the sun is super drying, do your skin a favor by drinking a few extra glasses of water.

Preventing Sunburn Blisters

Want to make sure you never get sunburn blisters again? Seems like a good idea.

To prevent sunburn and blisters, sun protection is a must! Get into a routine with these habits and you’ll be good to go:

  • Wear an effective, safe sunscreen
  • Reapply sunscreen frequently
  • Avoid being outside during peak hours (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Apply face sunscreen every day
  • Use a lipstick or chapstick with SPF

When choosing a sunscreen, don’t forget to look for a broad-spectrum, mineral sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.

Consider trying Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 to protect you and your kids and keep the coral reefs safe at the same time!

Read our full article about these seven sun protection steps here.

Sunburn Blister FAQs

Here are some helpful FAQs so you can get a better idea of what sunburn blisters are and how to go about treating them.

How Do You Get Rid Of Sunburn Blisters?

While sunburn blisters can be really painful, they’re relatively easy to treat. There are a couple of ways you can get rid of sunburn blisters, but above all else, it’s crucial to not pick or peel the blisters as that can lead to an infection, which you definitely don’t want. If your blister does pop, you should apply an antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandaid so it doesn’t get infected. 

Applying aloe gel to your sunburn blisters can also help to accelerate healing and relieve pain. You should also stay out of the sun until your sunburn has healed and drink lots of water to keep your insides healthy and hydrated.

Is It Bad If My Sunburn Is Blistering? 

Seeing your sunburn blistering can definitely be alarming, but fortunately, sunburn blisters will typically go away on their own. However, blisters are a sign of a severe sunburn, which is why it’s so important to take care of your skin and protect yourself from sun damage. Any time you go out in the sun, you should wear an effective, safe sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30. Your sunscreen should also be broad-spectrum, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Why Did My Sunburn Turn Into Blisters?

Severe sunburn can turn into blisters due to rapid inflammation caused by UV damage to the skin. Sun blisters are technically considered a second-degree burn, which causes damage much deeper into the skin than a first-degree burn. Your sunburn likely turned into blisters because you didn’t wear sunscreen or take the proper measures to protect yourself from the sun. 

What Is The Fluid In A Sunburn Blister?

The fluid in a sunburn blister can be lymph, serum, plasma, blood, or pus. Sunburn blisters will typically look like small bumps on the skin. The liquid inside a sunburn blister is typically clear and watery and leaks in from neighboring tissues. If you leave your sunburn blisters alone, this liquid can actually provide protection to the skin and help with healing, which is why it’s so important to not pop or pick at your blisters.

Should You Cover A Sunburn Blister Or Let It Breathe?

It’s best to leave a sunburn blister alone so it can breathe and heal on its own. You should only cover a sunburn blister if it keeps rubbing against a clothing item and causing pain, or if the blister has popped on its own. If you do have to cover a blister, just make sure you apply a loose bandage so it can still breathe.

Should I Open My Sunburn Blister?

You should absolutely not open your sunburn blister. Picking, popping, or peeling a sunburn blister is just going to make the situation worse as it can cause an infection. An infection from a sunburn blister can lead to more serious complications, like nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Opening a sunburn blister can also hinder the healing process. Most sunburn blisters will heal by themselves, so avoid touching them at all costs.

When Should I See A Doctor?

If your sunburn blister worsens or does not improve, consult your physician. 

Be Safe In The Sun

It’s crucial to take the proper steps to protect yourself from the sun so that you don’t end up with sunburn, or worse, sunburn blisters. Sunburn blisters can be painful and annoying, but fortunately, they will typically heal by themselves within a week or so. There are also several ways you can treat sunburn blisters, like by applying aloe vera and drinking lots of water.

But the best form of treatment is prevention, and the best way to avoid sunburn blisters is to always wear effective sunscreen, which you can find at Babo Botanicals. Babo Botanicals carries a variety of safe and effective sunscreen products that the whole family can use. We have everything from Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion to a Clear Zinc Sunscreen Stick, you can easily find a product that works for you. 

All of our sunscreen products are made with natural ingredients that are great for your body and the environment, so you can rest assured that you’re providing the best sunscreen possible to your family.

Dealing with sunburn and sunburn blisters can really put a damper on your summer, but you can stay safe and protected with Babo Botanicals sunscreen products. Use Babo so you can have a happy, healthy and sunburn-free summer.