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Sunburn Workup

  • Author: Christopher M McStay, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
 
Updated: Jul 31, 2015
 

Laboratory Studies

No laboratory studies are indicated for uncomplicated cases.

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Imaging Studies

No imaging studies are indicated for uncomplicated cases.

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Procedures

Skin biopsy may be indicated if the diagnosis is in doubt or to exclude other diseases in the differential diagnosis.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Christopher M McStay, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Center

Christopher M McStay, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, Wilderness Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Ershad Elahi, MD Resident Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Center, New York

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

A Antoine Kazzi, MD Deputy Chief of Staff, American University of Beirut Medical Center; Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

A Antoine Kazzi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Joe Alcock, MD, MS Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Joe Alcock, MD, MS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

James Li, MD Former Assistant Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Board of Directors, Remote Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author, Amy Caron, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

References
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Note the apoptotic sunburn cells in the epidermis. Photograph courtesy of David Shum, MD, Division of Dermatology, University of Western Ontario.
Acute sunburn of face after a soccer match in a 15 year-old female.
Subacute sunburn of shoulder with peeling in a 21-year-old male.
Table. Fitzpatrick Skin Types and Recommended Sunscreen Sun Protection Factor (SPF) Levels[2, 15, 16]
Skin Type Description Skin Color Routine SPF SPF for Outdoor Activity
IAlways burns, never tansWhite1525-30
IIAlways burns, tans minimallyWhite12-1525-30
IIIBurns minimally, tans slowlyWhite8-1015
IVBurns minimally, tans wellOlive6-815
VRarely burns, tans profusely/darklyBrown6-815
VIRarely burns, always tansBlack6-815
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