Sunburn blisters

Sunburn blisters might form on the skin after a severe sunburn and can cause intense pain. These blisters generally arise several hours up to a day next to the initial exposure to the sun.

The pain typically subsides after 48 hours but it might last at least a week for the blisters as well as the sunburn to disappear. Once they recuperate, the individual ends up with darkened or lighter blemishes on the skin that can persist for 6-12 months.

What are the signs?

Sunburn blisters are characterized as small, white bumps filled with fluid that form on severely sunburned skin. The bordering skin might appear reddened and slightly swollen.

The skin is painful to the touch and can be significantly itchy.

Management of sunburn blisters


Sunburn blisters are characterized as small, white bumps filled with fluid that form on severely sunburned skin.

Sunburn blisters can be managed at home with the following measures:

  • Increase the intake of water. Remember that sunburn can lead to dehydration which prevents the blisters from recuperating.
  • Apply a damp, cold compress on the blisters to relieve some of the heat out of the skin.
  • Dab on a moisturizer that includes aloe vera on the site. The additional moisture promotes healing of the sunburn blisters.
  • Avoid popping or picking on the blisters. This drastically increases the chances of infection and can even damage the skin that can lead to scarring.
  • Pain medications such as ibuprofen can be given to lessen the discomfort and swelling.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun until the blisters fully heal.

In case the blisters open, make sure that the site is kept hygienic and place a bandage using loose gauze after the application of an antibiotic ointment. The area must be covered with bandage to hasten the healing.

If the sunburn blisters are severe, the doctor might prescribe a corticosteroid for the itchiness and swelling. A topical burn cream might also be suggested to promote healing of the skin.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on sunburn blisters is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage one, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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