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Skin Protection


Annette van Gessel & Marta Campbell
09.05.2016  10:57 Uhr

In the case of painful sunburn, those affected seek rapid help in the pharmacy to relieve their symptoms. PTA-Forum has compiled the most important vocabulary, questions and advice on the subject of "sunburn".

When the sun is shining again after a spell of bad weather, people long to be outdoors. Especially in springtime, most people underestimate the intensity of ultraviolet rays and do not protect their skin sufficiently. Those who are on holiday or on business in Germany may visit a pharmacy and ask for advice.

When exposed to intensive ultraviolet rays, the skin will redden increasingly, will become sensitive to pressure and be painful. If the skin swells – for example in the case of sunburn on the arms – mobility will be strongly reduced. In mild cases an O/W emulsion will ease the complaints. It replenishes the skin with moisture lost by the skin and cools pleasantly. The cooling effect can be enhanced by applying damp cloths.

Another proven remedy for damaged skin to regenerate quicker is the use of vitamin E and/or Dexpanthenol. Especially recommendable are foam sprays as the foam can be spread easily and without causing any pain.

In the case of stronger local symptoms, pharmacy technicians or pharmacists could also recommend a cream or a spray with hydrocortisone. Concentrations of up to 0.5 percent do not require prescriptions and are a good option for self-medication. Topical antihistamines will also alleviate sunburns. However, they need to be applied at an early stage.

Should the customer complain about severe pain, pharmacy technicians and pharmacists could recommend a non-steroid antiphlogistic such as acetylsalicylic acid, diclofenac or naproxen. In such a case a visit to the doctor would be advisable.

Important questions for the consultation

  • How long have you had this sunburn?
  • Apart from the reddened/burning skin, do you have any other symptoms?
  • Do you feel dizzy or nauseous?
  • Have you already done something against your problems?

Additional information

  • Damp compresses will help to relieve the burning of the skin and reduce swellings. Ice packs are unsuitable as they cause too much cooling.
  • Apply the cooling lotion every few hours.
  • Touch the irritated skin very carefully, avoiding any rubbing.
  • Next time please make sure you have sufficient sun protection. When travelling you should take a small tube of sunscreen with you.
  • On bright days, you should wear sunglasses when outdoors for longer periods.
  • Drink a lot of fluid to replenish any loss of moisture from the reddened skin.
Deutsch / German Englisch / English
Bewegungseinschränkung limited mobility
Feuchte Tücher damp cloths
Hut hat
Kappe cap
Kopfbedeckung head covering
Kühlen cooling
Rötung redness, reddening
Schatten shade
Schaumspray foam spray
Schmerz pain, ache
Schwellung swelling
Sonnenbrand sunburn
Sonnenbrille sunglasses
Sonnenschutzmittel sunscreen products
Vocabulary on skin protection