Why Is My Sunburn Itchy?

Why Is My Sunburn Itchy

How long does sunburn itch last?

Duration of Symptoms When experiencing sunburn, this itchy sensation usually pops out within 48 hours of sun exposure. It causes discomfort that runs deep into the skin and is difficult to calm down. Most of the time, this sunburn will clear up within three to four days of exposure, along with the itching.

What stage of sunburn is itchy?

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We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness. It’s not clear why some people itch after a sunburn. Also known as “hell’s itch,” this may be genetic, but there isn’t enough evidence to prove it. It’s happened to many of us.

You’ve had a beautiful day outside only to wind up with a less-than-ideal souvenir — a sunburn, For some people, an already uncomfortable condition can morph into something known to be so unpleasant that it’s been dubbed “hell’s itch.” Aptly named to convey its severity, hell’s itch refers to a painful itchiness that can emerge a few days after a sunburn.

Although limited research on the condition makes it hard to know exactly how common this is, some guesses suggest 5 to 10 percent of people have dealt with this. We do know that sunburns themselves are extremely common. Hell’s itch symptoms go beyond that of a typical sunburn.

  • It typically shows up anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after being in the sun.
  • Many people report experiencing it on their shoulders and back, perhaps because these are areas that get a lot of sun exposure,
  • These areas may not always receive enough SPF protection, which can lead to sunburn.
  • It’s not a bad idea to ask someone to help out with these hard to reach spots! Experiencing itchiness or skin peeling after too much sun exposure isn’t unusual.

This itch, though, is reported to go beyond that and is known to be extremely painful. Some people describe an itchiness that’s deep, throbbing, and hard to treat. Other people describe it as if fire ants are crawling and biting at the affected skin. It isn’t known why this happens or who may be predisposed to this condition.

There’s nothing to indicate that people who have had hell’s itch continue to experience the condition alongside every sunburn. That said, the noted, and obvious, precursor to this itch is time spent in the sun. Although it isn’t clear which factors contribute to hell’s itch, researchers have identified risk factors for sun-related skin damage.

People with lighter skin, and those not typically exposed to the sun for long periods of time, are generally more likely to wind up with red skin after a day beside the pool. Everyone can be affected by sun exposure, though damage is more likely to show up on lighter skin.

People with darker skin have more melanin. This helps block out some of the more damaging aspects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. People who spend a lot of time in the mountains may also end up with more sunburns as the sun’s rays can be more intense at higher altitudes. Most people with this condition do self-diagnose.

Much of what’s been written about hell’s itch comes from people on the internet relaying their own experiences with this painful condition. Although it can be extremely unpleasant, hell’s itch isn’t life-threatening and can be treated at home. If your symptoms otherwise worsen or persist over an extended period of time, you should consult your doctor,

Though it may seem a bit like fighting fire with fire, some people have reported relief from taking hot showers. If you try this method, it’s important to be careful and not overheat or further burn your skin. Peppermint oil has been rumored to help. Taking an oatmeal bath may also be worth a try, as these are often recommended to relieve itchiness associated with chicken pox,

Applying baking soda paste to the affected areas may also offer some people relief, but others report that it doesn’t help them. Shop for peppermint oil. Have you ever experienced hell’s itch? Scratching may make the pain worse, so try to control that urge.

You can try applying an aloe vera gel or ointment to the area for quick relief, but this may not work for everyone. Topical ointments are available over the counter and can also provide spot-specific relief. Be sure to look for options containing 1 percent hydrocortisone cream or a 10 percent benzocaine cream.

Avoid using any lotion or cream that contains salicylic acid. Shop for aloe vera gel. Shop for topical hydrocortisone cream. If you do choose to see your doctor, they may be able to recommend a prescription-strength anti-itch medication. Discomfort is common in the short term.

This itchy sensation is often described as running deep into the skin and being difficult to calm down. It usually pops up about 48 hours after sun exposure and lasts for about as long. That said, the sunburn will eventually clear up, and the itch should go with it. Once your skin is back on track, be very careful when it comes to prolonged sun exposure.

Covering up with clothing, sitting under umbrellas, and wearing a high SPF sunscreen — that you reapply every 80 minutes — can help keep this from happening again. It’s important to remember to keep an eye on any changes in your skin and to consult your doctor if you notice any pigment or texture changes.

  1. Annual skin checks may also be an important addition to your regular healthcare routine.
  2. Severe sunburns and continual exposure to the sun increase your risk for skin cancer,
  3. The best way to keep this from happening again is to use caution when out in the sun, especially for long periods of time.
  4. It’s been theorized that people who experience hell’s itch may have some kind of genetic predisposition to it, though there isn’t any research to support this particular theory.

People with lighter skin, too, are more susceptible to sunburns. Make sure you’re aware of how much sun exposure you can comfortably tolerate. In all instances, wear sunscreen containing a broad-spectrum SPF designed to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Does itchy sunburn mean you will peel?

What a Peeling Sunburn Really Means | Dr. Robert M. Paull | Dermatology Maybe you skimped on the sunscreen. Then you forgot to reapply because it was cloudy. Now you have a sunburn that feels very much like your shoulders have been set on fire. In a couple of days, the burning sensation will subside.

It’ll be replaced by a persistent itchiness as your sunburned skin begins to peel. While a sunburn is never a good thing – a single sunburn increases your risk of developing skin cancer later in life, and the risk doubles with a blistering burn – peeling is a step in the right direction. Peeling skin is your body’s way of ridding itself of damaged and dead skin cells.

It’s a form of protection. Where you see red, peeling skin, what’s going on at a microscopic level is something called programmed cell death. It’s a process caused by significant inflammation. Skin cells become too damaged to function as they should, so they begin shutting down. Why Is My Sunburn Itchy Tempting as it might be to try to remove some of your peeling skin yourself, doing so could hinder and prolong your healing. It could also increase inflammation and lead to infection. Try to keep the affected skin moisturized as best you can. Should some of your skin slough off in the process, so be it.

  1. But don’t actively tug at it.
  2. Aside from the aforementioned reasons, you could also remove healthy skin along with the damaged skin.
  3. Most sunburns will heal on their own after several uncomfortable days, but that doesn’t mean there’s no longer any cause for concern.
  4. In some cases, despite significant damage to their DNA, skin cells will continue living, and they can become cancerous.

The chance of developing one of the three most common skin cancers – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and – is proportional to the amount of sun you expose yourself to unprotected. That’s why it’s so important to slather on a with an SPF of at least 30 every day before you head out, even if you’re just running errands.

If you’re planning on staying outside for longer than a couple of hours, make sure you reapply. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat that shields your face and neck from the sun and to seek out the shade as much as possible. You might think sunburns occur only after a long afternoon at the beach or by the pool.

But this time of year, ultraviolet rays can scorch unprotected skin in a matter of just a few minutes. So be smart and be safe. : What a Peeling Sunburn Really Means | Dr. Robert M. Paull | Dermatology

Is it OK to scratch itchy sunburn?

Home remedies to help soothe hell’s itch – Most cases of hell’s itch can be treated at home, but “if you have blisters over a large area of your body, fever, chills, dizziness or confusion, you should see a doctor,” Dr. Piliang advises. She suggests these at-home remedies to relieve your symptoms:

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Use ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen for pain and inflammation.Take an antihistamine like diphenhydramine (Benadryl ® ) or fexofenadine (Allegra ® ) to reduce itching.Wet a towel or washcloth in cool water and place it on your burn to help pain and itching. Repeat as desired.Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream for itching. Avoid ointments, as these seal in heat.Try soaking in an oatmeal bath to soothe itchy skin.Keep yourself well hydrated, as sunburns leach fluid from the rest of your body. Water is best, but an electrolyte-replenishing sports drink may be helpful, too.”Be really careful not to scratch the itch because it doesn’t relieve it at all and often makes it worse,” notes Dr. Piliang. “You can also create tears in your skin that can be a portal of entry for bacteria and could lead to infection.”

Do sunburns turn into tans?

Does Sunburn Turn Into Tan? | Eucerin UK Why Is My Sunburn Itchy Sunburn is never pleasant, but some of us may assume a bright red glow will turn into a desirable tan. While a sunburn may turn into a tan this depends on a variety of factors and can come with a multitude of health concerns. It is always best to avoid sunburn by taking precautionary measures to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

Your skin type is the most prevailing factor on whether the sunburn turns into a tan. Those with pale white and very fair skin are the most likely to burn. People with a fairer skin tone have less melanin in their skin to protect them from the sun’s rays, meaning skin is less likely to tan. Those with darker skin are far more likely to tan and less at risk from sunburn.

However, this does not mean that people with darker skin are immune to sunburn. It is still best practice to ensure you are well-protected from sunburn and, especially as it is still possible to tan whilst wearing sunscreen. Sunburn is what occurs when your skin is overexposed to UV rays from the sun and cell damage is sustained.

  • This causes the body to increase blood flow to these areas, resulting in a red glow that feels warm to touch.
  • The severity of burns can vary and can affect whether the sunburn will turn into a tan.
  • For less severe burns the skin will be warm, will burn, itch and feel tight.
  • More severe burns may see the skin blister and start to, which will not only be very painful but will most likely prohibit the sunburn turning into a tan.

Find out more about the, How sunburn turns into a tan Once the skin is damaged from sunburn, the body produces additional melanin, which is responsible for the colour of our eyes, hair and skin, to try and repel any further damage. Six to 48 hours after the sunburn, this will potentially darken the skin.

When the skin is damaged by the sun, the sunburn may tan, but with every burn the chance of developing non-melanoma skin cancer increases. Sunburn can also lead to (darker patches of skin) and (when the skin ages prematurely). As explained earlier in this article, it is best to avoid sunburn at all costs, but sometimes accidents can happen.

How to get rid of sunburn fast on face and itchy relief

There is no guarantee that the sunburn will turn into a tan but it is very important to look after the affected skin as best you can. To reduce the chances of and minimise other side effects, there are a number of steps you should take to soothe burned skin:

Take a cold shower or bath, or use a cold compress Apply an after sun product, like the Drink plenty of water Consider taking some ibuprofen or paracetamol Do not pick at any or peeling skin Read our in-depth advice about treating sunburn here.

Advanced Spectral Technology Our faces are often one of the first parts of the body to show visible signs of sun-induced skin damage such as sunburn. All of the face products in include our innovative Advanced Spectral Technology to protect you from UV rays and help prevent sun-induced damage. We deliver a holistic dermo-cosmetic approach to protect your skin, keep it healthy and radiant. Recommended by dermatologists We work together with leading dermatologist and pharmacist partners around the world to create innovative and effective skincare products they can trust and recommend. For over 100 years, we have dedicated ourselves to researching and innovating in the field of skin science. We believe in creating active ingredients and soothing formulas with high tolerability that work to help you live your life better each day. : Does Sunburn Turn Into Tan? | Eucerin UK

Does itching mean healing?

The body’s healing process – The human body has an amazing ability to repair and regenerate damaged tissue. Even the most stubborn wounds can eventually heal with proper care and attention. Itching is a natural part of the body’s healing process. When the skin is injured, the body sends blood cells to the area to repair the damage.

Is my sunburn second degree?

Childhood Skin Problems 1 min read Why Is My Sunburn Itchy Photo courtesy of Erin A. Bluhm Your skin type affects how easily you become sunburned. People with fair or freckled skin, blond or red hair, and light or blue eyes usually sunburn easily. Your age also affects how your skin reacts to the sun. The skin of children younger than age 6 and adults older than age 60 is more sensitive to sunlight.

  • Skin that is red and painful and that swells up and blisters may mean that deep skin layers and nerve endings have been damaged ( second-degree burn ).
  • This type of sunburn is usually more painful and takes longer to heal.
  • It increases your chances for developing skin cancer and melanoma.
  • Read more about the causes and problems related to sunburns,

Slideshow: Sun Damage Pictures Slideshow: Sunburn, Melanoma, Carcinoma, and More Article: Sunburn – Topic Overview Article: Sunburn – Home Treatment Article: Sunburn – Prevention

Why does my sunburn itch after I shower?

2. Take a cool shower – You can also take a cool shower or bath to cool down your skin, but make sure not to stay in the water for too long, as this can dry it out, This is because the water can remove the protective oils on your skin’s surface that help to trap moisture.

How bad is Hell’s itch?

Sun damage is amongst the leading causes of skin problems in travellers.1 In a study in kite-surfers, 74% had at least one sunburn during the last 6 months.2 Sunburns are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, and the degree of burn can vary from mild to severe depending on the skin type and the amount of sun exposure.

However, a specific acute phenomenon related to sunburn called ‘hell’s itch’, also described as ‘suicide itch’, is often not mentioned in the scientific literature; a PubMed search did not show any results. In comparison, a Google search yielded 158 000 results. A Scopus search yielded one unrelated Book Chapter.

As I was unfortunate enough to experience hell’s itch first-hand, I would like to describe this phenomenon in order to raise medical awareness. A Caucasian fair-skinned male in my 20s, I had a severe sunburn on the Galapagos Islands after falling asleep in the sun without sun protection during mid-day.

Not unexpectedly, severe erythema developed that the same evening in the sun-exposed areas, as is well described in the sunburn literature. My self-management included immediately applying aloe-vera containing skin lotions, wearing loose clothing and staying hydrated. However, 3 days after the onset of the sunburn, triggered by a shower, the most intense itch developed that was more painful than anything I have experienced in my life.

It felt as if needles were stabbing deep into the epidermis. The pain was so unbearable that I did not know what to do. I was in a frenzy state, irritable and restless, wringing on the floor, with an intense urge to scratch which made it even worse. It felt like hell.

It seemed that I was going insane. Applying aloe-vera skin lotions further worsened the symptoms. The painful itch was so unbearable that I was given benzodiazepines to calm down the uncontrollable urge to scratch, in addition to oral antihistamines, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Much of what has been written about hell’s itch comes from people on the Internet relaying their own experiences with this painful condition.

Online sufferers have described their experiences as feeling ‘like fire ants are biting you under your skin’, ‘wanting to rip your skin off’ or ‘an uncontrollable itch that, when scratched, causes stabbing pain’ ( https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-the-heck-is-hells-itch/ ).

Interestingly, showers often seem to be a trigger, and skin lotions do not alleviate pain. Hell’s itch seem to start at least 48 h after the onset of the sunburn and is mainly reported by fair-skinned persons. My symptoms came in waves but then disappeared after 48 h. Interestingly, the itch also affected areas which did not have a sunburn, though to a much lesser extent.

Four days later, my skin was peeling, not only on the areas where I had the sun exposure but also on the pads of my fingers, palms of my hands and especially on the soles of my feet, perhaps due to the Skin Stress Response System.3 What is the pathophysiology of hell’s itch? Given the absence of hell’s itch in the scientific literature, we can only speculate.

Based on a sunburn model, a sensitized pain response to bradykinin release after sunburn was reported.4 An endogenous origin of the peripheral mediators causing the nociceptor discharge was postulated. A large area of secondary mechanical hyperalgesia to pin prick was found in a study to investigate the central origin of sunburn related pain.5 It appears that the peripheral nociceptive afferent input of inflamed skin enhances central hypersensitivity of mechanosensitive nociceptors in a larger receptive field far beyond the inflamed skin.

Apart from the immediate physical problems, like many other online users, I am now psychologically permanently scarred to avoid such a situation of sunburn again, and now often appear to ‘over-do’ sun protection. Many people doubt the authenticity of hell’s itch, unless they have lived through it themselves or witnessed it and maybe that is the reason why it has not been covered in the scientific literature.

  • Because of lack of healthcare knowledge in this area, a layman’s guide to hell’s itch has been produced on Reddit.com via the collection of personal experiences shared through Internet forums ( https://www.reddit.com/r/HellsItch/ ).
  • Healthcare researchers should follow suit and provide evidence-based, not merely anecdotal, advice.
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Furthermore, scientific documentation of the frequency, risk factors and management of hell’s itch is required. Lastly, travel medicine practitioners and primary healthcare physicians should counsel at-risk travellers about photo-protection and self-management.6

Why is sunburn bad?

The Facts. The Risks. What You Can Do. – Sunburn hurts you in more ways than one. The danger goes far beyond any short-term pain, redness and discomfort, because after the sunburn fades, lasting damage remains. Sunburn accelerates skin aging and is a leading cause in the majority of cases of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,

What degree is my sunburn?

Severity of Sunburn –

  • Most sunburn is a first-degree burn that turns the skin pink or red.
  • Prolonged sun exposure can cause blistering and a second-degree burn.
  • Rarely, severe sunburn can cause a third-degree burn or scarring.

How long does devils itch last?

Abstract – Chronic urticaria is defined as the presence of urticaria for a period exceeding 6 weeks, assuming symptoms for most days of the week. It is divided into chronic inducible urticarias and chronic spontaneous urticaria, previously termed chronic idiopathic urticaria.

The latter designation emphasizes that patients can experience urticaria independent of any exogenous stimulus even if one can define circumstances that may worsen symptoms. A search for such an external “cause” is fruitless because the underlying abnormality is “intrinsic,” whether it is autoimmune, or some unknown process.

Approximately 40% of patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria report accompanying episodes of angioedema, whereas 10% have angioedema as their primary manifestation. In most cases, it is a self-limiting disorder, persisting for 2 to 5 years in most cases, although 20% of patients suffer for more than 5 years.

The treatment that has evolved is largely empiric, based on double-blind, placebo-controlled studies whenever possible, but is not yet targeted to any particular pathogenic mechanism. In this article, we review the current status regarding pathogenesis, discuss the diagnostic workup, and update the approach to treatment including consideration of published guidelines, our own experience, and guideline updates that are being prepared.

Keywords: Chronic urticaria; Pathogenesis; Treatment. Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Does sunburn feel better after peeling?

Medical Mythbuster: Does Peeling a Sunburn Makes it Heal Faster? The correct answer is “no.” If you are unlucky enough to have a sunburn that peels, you should resist the urge to peel off pieces of your skin as it heals. Although peeling may seem harmless, it can actually further damage your skin and make it more vulnerable to infection.

  1. Eep in mind that the reason your skin is peeling is that it has been badly damaged by ultraviolet light.
  2. Peeling is part of the healing process, where the damaged skin is shed and your body regenerates a new top layer of skin to protect you.
  3. While this is happening, your sunburned skin is exposed and vulnerable.

So avoid harsh scrubs, coarse washcloths, scratching, or anything else that will accelerate the peeling. (If you have a dead piece of skin that is hanging off and bothering you, it’s best to remove it gently with a pair of small scissors.) You should treat your skin with a moisturizer after a sunburn. : Medical Mythbuster: Does Peeling a Sunburn Makes it Heal Faster?

Why does sunburn feel hot?

Do you know why skin gets burnt from too much sun? Read on to find out. What is a sunburn? The outer layer of the skin gets its color from a dark pigment called melanin. When the skin is exposed to Ultraviolet (UV) rays, the body protects itself by accelerating the production of melanin—this extra melanin darkens the skin, creating a suntan.

A suntan is the body’s way of blocking UV rays, but most people don’t produce enough melanin to protect the skin from burning when it’s overexposed to UV light, leading to painful, itchy sunburns. If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you’re probably familiar with the symptoms: reddening of the skin; skin that feels hot to the touch; pain, tenderness, and itching.

But why exactly does the skin react this way and how do you know if you need to see a doctor about your burn? Explaining the Pain The energy from ultraviolet radiation can damage molecules in the skin, most importantly, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)—the long molecule that contains our unique genetic code.

  • The damage to these molecules leads to the production of certain kinds of proteins and enzymes, which in turn cause blood vessels to dilate and leads to inflammation—that’s why your skin gets sore and red when you burn.
  • The warmth of sunburnt skin can be attributed to an increase in blood flow to the affected area.

Your skin may also peel as your sunburn heals as this is your body’s way of getting rid of damaged cells that could potentially become cancerous. When You Should See a Doctor If your symptoms last for more than a few days or get worse, you should probably speak to your doctor or dermatologist.

Does ibuprofen help sunburn?

If you have a sunburn – First aid might offer some relief from the discomfort of sunburn:

  • Take a pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) as soon as possible after getting too much sun. Or try a gel pain reliever that you rub on the skin.
  • Cool the skin. Apply to the affected skin a clean towel dampened with cool tap water. Or take a cool bath with. Add about 2 ounces (60 grams) of baking soda to the tub. Cool the skin for about 10 minutes several times a day.
  • Apply a moisturizer, lotion or gel. An aloe vera lotion or gel or calamine lotion can be soothing. Try cooling the product in the refrigerator before applying. Avoid products that contain alcohol.
  • Drink extra water for a day to help prevent dehydration.
  • Leave blisters alone. An intact blister can help the skin heal. If a blister does break, trim off the dead skin with a clean, small scissors. Gently clean the area with mild soap and water. Then apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover it with a nonstick bandage.
  • Protect yourself from further sun exposure while your skin heals from the sunburn.
  • Apply a soothing medicated cream. For mild to moderate sunburn, apply nonprescription 1% hydrocortisone cream to the affected area three times a day for three days. Try cooling the product in the refrigerator before applying.
  • Treat sunburned eyes by covering them with a clean towel dampened with cool tap water. Don’t wear contacts until your eye symptoms have gone away. Don’t rub your eyes.

Seek medical care for large blisters or those that form on the face, hands or genitals. Also seek medical help if you have worsening pain, headache, confusion, nausea, fever, chills, eye pain or vision changes, or signs of infection, such as blisters with swelling, pus or streaks.

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May 21, 2022

  1. AskMayoExpert. Sunburn. Mayo Clinic; 2021.
  2. Thompson DA. Sunburn. In: Adult Telephone Protocols: Office Version.5th ed. American Academy of Pediatrics; 2022.
  3. Auerbach PS, et al., eds. Exposure to radiation from the sun. In: Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine.7th ed. Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan.13, 2022.
  4. Kermott CA, et al., eds. Sunburn. In: Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies.2nd ed. Time; 2017.
  5. Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/stats-sunscreen. Accessed April 25, 2022.


Why do I burn instead of tan?

1. Fair skin – Melanin is the pigment that defends your skin against the sun’s rays. When your unprotected skin is exposed to the sun, melanin can cause it to darken. Since the amount of melanin you can produce is determined by genetics, some people are more prone to burn, while others tan.

Does SPF stop you from tanning?

Does sunscreen prevent tanning? – Our skin is often exposed to hours of sunlight. To avoid irreversible damage to the skin cells it is essential to wear sunscreen whenever you go outside, but some of us may think this will reduce our chances of getting a tan.

Sunscreen does not prevent you from tanning, because it does not protect your skin from 100% of UVA radiation. Applying SPF 30+ protects you from 97% of UV rays, while SPF 50+ from 98%. This means that some rays will still reach your skin despite wearing sunscreen, so it will not prevent tanning completely.

You will still be able to get some colour on your skin, just at a slower, more manageable rate, whilst lowering the risks of damaging your skin, This does, however, mean that you are able to burn. With SPF 30, it will take roughly 30 times longer to burn than if you leave yourself unprotected in the sun, assuming it is correctly applied,

Chemical-based sunscreen absorbs UV rays and alters them before they penetrate the skin and cause damage. Physical-based sunscreen reflects the rays away from your skin. As explained above, no sun cream is 100% effective against protecting your skin so you can tan with sunscreen.

How many sunburns is too many?

Get the facts about skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.
  • Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
  • When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to skin cancer, so make sure you know all the facts. You can #SharetheFacts on social media by downloading images from our Skin Cancer Awareness Toolkit. For the latest news, visit our Press Room,

  • In the U.S., more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. More than two people die of the disease every hour.1,2, 9
  • More than 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S. in 2012, the most recent year new statistics were available.1
  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.2
  • At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.3
  • Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.4
  • The annual cost of treating skin cancers in the U.S. is estimated at $8.1 billion: about $4.8 billion for nonmelanoma skin cancers and $3.3 billion for melanoma.5
  • The diagnosis and treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the U.S. increased by 77 percent between 1994 and 2014.6
  • About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.7
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 3.6 million cases of BCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.8,1
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 1.8 million cases of SCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.8,1
  • More than 5,400 people worldwide die of nonmelanoma skin cancer every month.27
  • Organ transplant patients are approximately 100 times more likely than the general public to develop squamous cell carcinoma.10
  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent.11
  • Incidence rates of Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer, increased by 95 percent from 2000 to 2013.40
  • It’s estimated that the number of new melanoma cases diagnosed in 2023 will decrease by 5.6 percent.2
  • The number of melanoma deaths is expected to increase by 4.4 percent in 2023.2
  • An estimated 186,680 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2023. Of those, 89,070 cases will be in situ (noninvasive), confined to the epidermis (the top layer of skin), and 97,610 cases will be invasive, penetrating the epidermis into the skin’s second layer (the dermis). Of the invasive cases, 58,120 will be men and 39,490 will be women.2
  • In the past decade (2013 – 2023), the number of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed annually increased by 27 percent.2,37
  • An estimated 7,990 people will die of melanoma in 2023. Of those, 5,420 will be men and 2,570 will be women.2
  • The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.12
  • Compared with stage I melanoma patients treated within 30 days of being biopsied, those treated 30 to 59 days after biopsy have a 5 percent higher risk of dying from the disease, and those treated more than 119 days after biopsy have a 41 percent higher risk.13
  • Across all stages of melanoma, the average five-year survival rate in the U.S. is 94 percent. The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is over 99 percent. The survival rate falls to 71 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes and 32 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.2
  • Only 20 to 30 percent of melanomas are found in existing moles, while 70 to 80 percent arise on apparently normal skin.14
  • On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns, 15 but just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.39
  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.16
  • Melanoma accounts for 6 percent of new cancer cases in men, and 4 percent of new cancer cases in women.2
  • Men age 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer but colon and rectum cancers.2
  • From ages 15 to 39, men are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group.17
  • Women age 49 and under are more likely to develop melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.2
  • From age 50 on, significantly more men develop melanoma than women. The majority of people who develop melanoma are white men over age 55. But until age 49, significantly more non-Hispanic white women develop melanoma than white men (one in 162 women versus one in 246 men). Overall, one in 28 white men and one in 41 white women will develop melanoma in their lifetime.2
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen.18
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans. Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV radiation.19
  • Ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices were reclassified by the FDA from Class I (low risk) to Class II (moderate to high risk) devices as of September 2, 2014.20
  • Indoor tanning devices can emit UV radiation in amounts 10 to 15 times higher than the sun at its peak intensity.41
  • Twenty states plus the District of Columbia prohibit people younger than 18 from using indoor tanning devices: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Oregon and Washington prohibit those under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices unless a prescription is provided.21
  • Australia, Brazil and Iran have banned indoor tanning altogether. Twenty-one countries have banned indoor tanning for people younger than age 18, and Canada has banned indoor tanning for those younger than age 19.22
  • The cost of direct medical care for skin cancer cases attributable to indoor tanning is $343.1 million annually in the U.S.23
  • More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning, including about 245,000 basal cell carcinomas, 168,000 squamous cell carcinomas and 6,200 melanomas.24
  • More people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.24
  • Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 83 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma 43 and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.24
  • Any history of indoor tanning increases the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40 by 69 percent.25
  • Women who have ever tanned indoors are six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 20s than those who have never tanned indoors. At all ages, the more women tan indoors, the higher their risk of developing melanoma.26
  • One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them (97 percent) had used tanning beds.26
  • People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.28
  • Indoor tanning among U.S. high school students decreased by 53 percent between 2009 and 2015.29
  • An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.30
  • People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.31
  • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.32
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Ages Average Accumulated Sun Exposure*
1-18 23 percent
19-40 47 percent
41-59 74 percent
60-78 100 percent
*Based on a 78-year life span


  • The estimated five-year melanoma survival rate for Black patients is only 70 percent, versus 94 percent for white patients.2
  • Skin cancer represents approximately 2 to 4 percent of all cancers in Asians.33
  • Skin cancer represents 4 to 5 percent of all cancers in Hispanics.38
  • Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 percent of all cancers in Black people.3
  • Melanomas in Black people, Asians and native Hawaiians most often occur on nonexposed skin with less pigment, with up to 60 to 75 percent of tumors arising on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.33
  • In nonwhites, the plantar portion of the foot is often the most common site of skin cancer, being involved in 30 to 40 percent of cases.38
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in Black people.33
  • Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among Hispanic and Black people than non-Hispanic white people; 52 percent of non-Hispanic black patients and 26 percent of Hispanic patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced-stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.34
  • People of colo r have higher percentages of acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM, melanoma of the palms, soles and nailbeds) than Caucasians, whereas superficial spreading melanoma is the most frequent subtype in Caucasians and Hispanics.38
    • Melanoma in children and adolescents accounts for a tiny percentage of all new melanoma cases in the United States, with about 400 cases a year in children under 20 years old.45
    • Skin cancers account for 3 percent of pediatric cancers.44
    • Between 2005 and 2015, the melanoma incidence in 10 to 29-year-olds dropped about 4 percent per year among males and 4.5 percent per year among females.42
    • The treatment of childhood melanoma is often delayed due to misdiagnosis of pigmented lesions, which occurs up to 40 percent of the time.36

    Does itching mean healing?

    The body’s healing process – The human body has an amazing ability to repair and regenerate damaged tissue. Even the most stubborn wounds can eventually heal with proper care and attention. Itching is a natural part of the body’s healing process. When the skin is injured, the body sends blood cells to the area to repair the damage.

    Does aloe vera stop itching?

    Abstract – Introduction: Although several studies have highlighted the beneficial effects of Aloe vera on burn wounds, limited clinical evidence exists in this regard. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of the Aloe vera gel on healing, itching and pain of burn patients.

    Methods: This clinical trial was conducted at Sina Hospital in Tabriz, Iran. The patients with second and first degree burn wounds on symmetrical organs, were randomly assigned to control (n=34) and experimental (n=34) groups. The Aloe vera gel and silver sulfadiazine cream were used in the experimental and control groups, respectively.

    To assess the healing effects, the Bates-Jensen Wound Assessment Tool (BWAT) was employed. Regarding itching and pain, visual analogue scale (VAS) was used for precise evaluation and comparison on days 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 14. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 13.

    Results: Although the wounds in both groups healed up completely within two weeks, the healing process among the patients in the experimental group was faster. The peak of wound itching was on day 7 in both groups. The wound itching significantly reduced half an hour after being dressed with Aloe vera gel.

    The wound pain in the experimental group was less than control group during the study period. Moreover, there was no pain in either experimental or control group on day 14. Conclusion: Aloe vera is an effective agent in reducing itching and pain, and it can substantially increase the rate of healing.