It’s the biggest myth that black skin people do not need protection against sun rays. Let us tell you, you need to wear sunscreen regardless of the skin type or color you possess. Though dark-skinned people might not face the severe backlash of sunburn, the risk still persists. Long-term exposure to the sun rays will lead to skin damage as well as end up having skin cancer as well.

It becomes difficult to detect sun damage or sunburn on black skin due to the pigmentation of the skin. All thanks to melanin here. There are people with lighter shades of dark skin, the melanin does not keep them fully protected. Sunburn still occurs to all. In this article, we will speak about sunburn on black skin and the details related to it. Let’s delve into it.

Pictures of sunburn on black skin

Sunburn on dark skin

What causes sunburn on dark skin?

Dark-skinned people, regardless of the natives, naturally have more melanin production than others. It mainly absorbs harmful UV rays, working as a natural skin protection factor up to 13. Health experts do advise everyone, regardless of skin color, to use sunscreen having an SPF of a minimum of 30. It might be that dark-skinned people may not be severely affected unlike others, but they are still susceptible to burning. It may end up causing spots and wrinkles. Long exposure to sun rays without protection will even lead to skin cancer.

According to research and study, it has been stated that black-skinned people are more likely to die due to skin cancer. And the reason is pretty obvious. It is a false security that dark-skinned people do not get sunburnt.

Signs of sunburn on black skin?

The outlook of sunburn is different on different skin tones. For light-skinned people, it is red and feels hot and painful at the same time. The skin may even look burnt. When it comes to black skin, you will not see redness. The other symptoms persist. This includes itchiness, sensitivity and heat. Your skin may even experience some peeling.  

If any serious condition occurs, you likely get a heat stroke. You should be consulting the doctor right away if you are having symptoms like –

  • Tiredness, dizziness or nausea
  • Shivering
  • Blisters on skin
  • Headache
  • High temperature

Can sunburn cause black spots?

Also known as sunspots, sunburn might cause black spots. This could be if you are exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. The parts of your body that are most exposed to the sun tend to develop black spots there. It occurs in different shades of brown. Mostly affected areas are the shoulder, back, neck, hands and face. They are most likely to appear after you have crossed 40. Though it may even occur earlier in your life.

Does sunburn cause the skin to peel?

If you are under the scorching heat of the sun for a long time, there are higher chances for you to see your skin getting peeled. It is highly damaging. Peeling sunburn is a sign of a high level of damage to the skin. It can be painful as well as inflammatory. When your skin is peeling out of sunburn, the body is getting rid of the dead and damaged skin cells.

What does sunburn peeling look like?

Sunburn is caused when you are affected by the harmful ultraviolet B radiation from the sun. Too much exposure to the same may lead to blisters and burns on your skin. When you are getting a first-degree sunburn on your skin, it is just painful and your skin turns red (for light-skinned people). It tends to affect the epidermis or the outer layer of your skin.

If you are affected by second-degree sunburn, that’s major. They tend to make your skin thin and develop blisters all over. They are painful. This is because the deeper layer of the skin and nerve endings have been affected. It takes time to heal and could be really painful. When it comes to both types of burns, you may see your skin peeling. The first could be like you are getting new skin but it’s highly itchy. If you have suffered from a second-degree burn, this may not end up pretty well. There will be blisters followed by skin peeling rather than shedding.

What to put on sunburn on black skin?

In the majority of cases, sunburn is not that damaging. The body heals by itself. But it is highly important to protect your skin for healing. Additional sun exposure should be avoided. Here is what you are doing –

  • Try wearing a wide hat that will cover your face and neck area.
  • You may even wear clothing that will hide your sunburn-affected area.
  • Wear sunscreen that has zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in it.
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat to protect the face and neck
  • Wearing clothing that completely covers the affected area
  • Wearing sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide whenever outside
  • Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every two hours to keep you protected from the harmful UV rays of the sun. 

Sunburn on black skin treatment at home

1. Cucumber

Cucumbers are filled with hydration. They are even refreshing to the skin as well as your health. For reducing inflammation due to sunburn, you can anytime apply cucumbers to the affected area. Furthermore, cucumbers are also rich in antioxidants developing pain-relieving compounds.

You can easily apply the sliced cucumber to the inflamed or affected area for the best results.

2. Witch Hazel

Use a cotton gauze dipping in some witch hazel astringent to it. They are rich in Vit C and anti-inflammatory tannins. You may apply evenly to the sunburnt area for 20 min. Reapply at least 4 to 5 times a day for reducing pain and itching.

3. Cool water

What is sunburn? It is mainly skin inflammation. The easiest way for treating sunburn on black skin is to cool down the affected area. The best way to soothe your skin is by showering in cold water. You may take a dip in your pool or lake as well. This will at least prevent your skin from worsening. Do not dip in chlorinated water, it could lead to discomfort.

4. Baking soda and oatmeal

When you are using baking soda and oatmeal, you are not supposed to scrub it on the affected areas. Commence by taking a few tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of cold water. Let it sit in for 10-20 min. It helps in protecting you from sun damage. Now what you can do is add a cup of oats to it. It will help in reducing irritation as well as retain your skin’s natural moisture.

5. Aloe Vera

You may directly get the gel from the Aloe Vera plant or purchase the gel available in the market/pharmacies. The gel has soothing properties that will help you heal the affected areas caused due to sun damage. Apply the gel directly on your skin, especially to the affected area and let it sit in.

6. Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea has a sense of calmness when you drink it. In the same way, it has healing properties that will help you soothe your burnt skin. All you need to do is brew the tea and wait for it to cool down. Soak a cloth or cotton gauze into it, and apply the same to the affected area of the skin.

7. Vinegar

You may use apple cider vinegar or normal vinegar at home for sunburn relief. Just add two cups of vinegar to the tub of cool water. They have anti-inflammatory properties that will help sting out the burn from your skin. The acidity in the vinegar should be diluted well before you are applying it to the affected area for the best results.

8. Coconut oil

Using cold-pressed, organic coconut oil will not only prevent your skin from drying but also restrict the irritation caused by sunburn. If you have blisters, wait for it to subside and they apply. Make sure that your skin is ready for the oil to be applied for sunburn remedy.

9. Hydration

When sunburn occurs, a lot of the fluid is taken from the skin’s surface as well as from your body. It is very very important for you to intake lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. You may even have fruits that have more water content like grapefruit, cucumbers as well as watermelon.

10. Moisturizer

Once you have passed the initial treatment stage, your skin needs proper care. The best thing to do is apply moisturizer to prevent your skin from peeling. Try doing it twice a day for a better impact to the affected areas of your skin.


Everything will fall into place if you do take care of your skin. Regardless of your skin tone or type, it is very important to wear sunscreen. The damage may get serious if you do not consider it. Even if you are suffering from sunburn, make sure that you are wearing loose and covered clothes. Your skin should be protected as well as it should not be sticking to the skin at all.

FAQs –

Does dark skin from sunburn go away?

Sunburn usually heals in a week. Even if you have dark skin due to sunburn, you will heal. You may take extra measures like using moisturizers and creams to lighten the affected areas. Also, make sure that your skin is not exposed to the sun directly to let it heal in the best way possible.

How long does sunburn last on dark skin?

It varies from person to person. Though it does not last for long, hardly a week. But if you do see some serious issues or symptoms happening then it is better to consult a doctor than sit back home.

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