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Do you have a red, blistering sunburn? While it may be fun to soak in the sunlight and take golden-hour selfies, the resulting sunburn when you forget to reapply your SPF is not something anyone enjoys. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with sunburn forever. So, how long does sunburn last? Learn about it in this blog!

How Long Does a Sunburn Take to Heal

In general, sunburns fade within 3 to 5 days, along with the pain and redness. However, sunburn may take around 10 days to heal, depending on the severity. You will begin to feel the pain within two to six hours of overexposure to the sun, and it is felt mostly after 24 hours. It is best to go to a dermatologist for sunburn treatment.

Here’s a brief overview of how long sunburn last:

  • Mild Sunburn: Pain and redness usually accompany a mild sunburn, which may last between 3 to 5 days. Moreover, the skin may start to peel toward the last two days since your skin starts to regenerate.
  • Moderate Sunburn: A moderate sunburn will hurt more than a mild one. You will also notice that the skin will have redness as well as swelling; plus, it will be hot to the touch. Usually, moderate sunburns heal in around a week, with the skin peeling for a few more days after.
  • Severe Sunburn: For severe sunburn, you will have to visit a doctor. This is because you will have painful blisters, and your skin will turn an intense shade of red. Therefore, your skin might require around two weeks to heal from severe sunburn.

Factors that Affect Sunburn Healing

Experiencing the symptoms of sunburn will not be the same for everyone; this is because a number of factors affect how long your sunburn will last. Hence, your sunburn will take more time to heal in case of the following:

  • Light-colored or fair skin
  • Freckles
  • Red or fair-colored hair
  • Sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., as sun rays are most intense during this time
  • High altitudes
  • Ozone holes
  • Visiting or living within the vicinity of the equator
  • Photosensitizing medications or drugs that make you more vulnerable to sunburn

How Long Redness, Pain, Blisters & Peeling from Sunburn Last

Now, let us discuss how long the different aspects of sunburns take to fade, which include:

  1. Redness: It takes 2 to 6 hours for the sunburn to turn red, and redness hits its peak after 24 hours of sun exposure. Then, it will start to subside over the course of the next couple of days. In severe sunburns, however, the redness takes longer to disappear.
  2. Pain: The pain in the sunburn will start after 6 hours of overexposure and peak at 24 hours. After 48 hours, though, the pain starts to alleviate. You can also consult your doctor regarding pain medications if the discomfort is too much. Moreover, applying cold compresses might help with the pain.
  3. Swelling: The swelling will take two days to go down and longer for severe sunburns. You can also ask your doctor for anti-inflammatory drugs.
  4. Blisters: In case of moderate to severe sunburn, the blisters will appear between 6 and 24 hours following UV exposure. Sometimes, it takes two days to show up. In addition, blisters stay up to a week.
  5. Peeling: Three days after sunburn, your skin will start peeing for several days. It stops when your skin is healed fully, which might be for seven days or more.


Sunburns can occur in varying degrees, but a good dermatologist can help with treatment. Care Dermatology is here to make your skin look its best, eliminating all issues with effective treatment. Dial (407) 553-3979 to get started!

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