Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How to Stop Sunburn Itch

My life was almost cut short by a terminal case of surburn itch this afternoon. In my desperate state I couldn't find a good source on the internet regarding how to stop sunburn itch. Because of this (and its remote connection to the medical nature of this blog) I decided to describe my own experience and create a "comment forum" on how to possibly remedy the condition.

Before I continue, let me clarify something: this is regarding the pain-from-getting-burned-just-stopped sunburn itch, not the my-skin-is-peeling sunburn itch.

Here is the backstory:

After spending some time near the equator, I developed a whopper of a sunburn. For a few days I had some difficulty sleeping secondary to the pain the I experienced any time that I moved. Lathering up my back with aloe and other mosturizers, by Sunburn Day 3 the pain was starting to abate and I figured that I was just about out of the wood. Then the unthinkable happened.

I was minding my own business (standing on the street corner when these two guys started to make trouble...wait that's another story), sitting by the computer when out of the blue my back starts to itch.

So naturally I reach around and scratch it. And would you believe it, that didn't seem to help. I keep scraching, but I'm quickly realizing that I need something bigger as I can't scratch my entire back at once, so I run into the bathroom and start frantically grinding my back up against one of the towels that we had hanging up. All this seemed to do was create a kind of itch/pain wherever I last scratched.

This seemed to help for a few minutes, but I was quickly leaving the this-is-mildly-annoying part and entering the I'm-at-risk-for-losing-my-mind phase.

I then tried laying face up in bed and moving up and down, but of course that didn't work. Then I tried arching my back as much as possible (is that decorticate or cerebrate?) as if I was going to do a backwards cartwheel, then curling up into the fetal position--zero help whatsoever.

All the while the itchiness was coming in ever greater waves. My heart was racing and my entire body began to pulsate with each heartbeat. You may think I am exaggerating, but until you have suffered through a good case of sunburn itch, you'll never understand. There were times where I actually considered going into the emergency room, I was that concerned that something serious might be going on.

So here was the one thing that helped: put about an inch of aloe vera gel on your back. I'm assuming it is your back that got burned because, unless your a nudist, chances are you went to the beach with skin white enough to make the Amish proud and decided to spend most of the day face down. Here's the important part: lie completely still, facedown on the bed. I'm sure that after a lot of itching you will be having some involuntary back spasms with how bad the pain is, but the only way to feel better is to keep from moving the burned part.

At first, putting gel on your back is only going to make the itching worse, and you'll still have some lingering itchiness, but it will pale in comparison to how miserable you were beforehand.

Addendum: My wife couldn't believe that I was in as much agony as I was letting on--feel free to point to the comments section of this post when your friend/parent/significant doesn't believe you. Also, feel free to leave comments in the forum if you would prefer. Thanks to everyone who has posted their own stories in the comments section, they always bring a smile to my face.

If you have a second, please click on a link. Every little bit counts when you have 200k in student loans.

Update: was interviewed by the National Post regarding my experience, it would seem that sunburn itch is still very rarely described and somewhat poorly understood now 5 years after this original post. You can find the whole story here.

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Anonymous said...

Another tip: Remain calm. Do not work yourself up trying to relieve the itch that you start sweating. I assure you this will make it worse and put you in the somebody-please-kill-me-now phase.

Unknown said...

I know how you feel buddy. Its midnight and I am sitting here trying to cure my itch. That how I found your blog. It is absolutely undescribable how bad the itch is. I tried vinegar, then aloe, then jumped in the shower, the put on hydocortizone, then walked in circles in the living room twitching the whole time. Trying not to touch the itch because that makes it worse. 1/2 hour after the cream it starting to fell better. a little

Anonymous said...

This is the second time I went through the sun poison-unbearable itching, after 8 years from the first one!!!! you would think you would learn your lesson.

Anyway PUT POISON IVY CALAMINE LOTION!!!! It's the only thing that works in 15 minutes! Nothing else does so fast and good.

I know what I am talking about. I feel sorry for all of you!!!

Anonymous said...

MY BACK IS ICHING UNCONTROLLABLY. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I don't have anything you people mentioned. I am going insane!

Anonymous said...

god i can sympathize--- i think a hot shower triggered some massive mast cell degran here... pushed me to the brink of insanity. my personal combo which has kept the itch bearable for the past few hours: cold shower + layer of lotion + layer of aloe c lidocaine (which i keep in fridge so cold when applied) + layer of hydrocortisone + 100mg diphen then wet a towel, wrapped it around my body, and watched the military channel trying not to think about the intolerable formication. phew. also got one of my buddies to call in a dexamethasone rx if i need it. crazy, never experienced anything like this in my life. just praying its gone before i have to scrub for surgery tomorrow :(

Anonymous said...

Great Tips, wish I had know that at the time. Remain Calm..haha I made it to the totally gone insane kill me mood..I don't lie when I say I left claw marks in my walls. I used 100% Aloe Vera, does it work..NO
So after drenching my body in Tiger Balm, it finally stopped..for a few hours...So here I am in the morning fighting a break out again...Then I find out I'm allergic to Aloe Vera..Great.
So if anyone has any idea's that actually work!! Let me know!

Anonymous said...

once youve got the inch thick layer of aloe on, put a fan on yourself/ stand by an open window/ blow on it/ point a hairdryer on cold at it/ stand in front of the open fridge. the cold air on the lotion makes it really cold and helps kill the itch a little more

Unknown said...

Use Solarcaine!!! or anything with Lidocaine in it that you have at the store. This stuff numbed, was rly cold, and it made the itch 90% gone, Good stuff! I was going crazy from my upper chest itching soooooo bad. you cant describe the pain, you gotta live thru it to know what were talkin about! good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my stoicism, but .... Obviously the intensity and length of the itching 'phase' will be equal to the intensity of the burn. It will subside and go away, but until the healing comes, only temporary and superficial relief is possible. I've been sun-burned so deeply that the itch brought me to anger and tears. The best 'remedy' for me was to let myself learn the lesson for the future - That pain (such as this almost supernatural itching), as I take it, is an advance (and relatively mild) warning from above that the sun (or tanning beds, sunlamps ...) can and probably will kill you if you keep it up with the overexposure. I've found that nothing completely removes the itch resulting from allowing myself to become one giant scab, but the experience has helped me to avoid the occasion of it happening again. I've been tan with the horrible itch experience; and somewhat pale without it - I now choose the latter.

Anonymous said...

I've gone through this 3 times now- my doctor reccommended ibuprofen and Benadryl every 4 hours. It works pretty well.

Anonymous said...

I went through tweo days without an itch, but late this afternoon itching like crazy. did stop no matter what i did. I took a 2-letter bottle and put it in the freezer util fully frozen. placed it under my back while laying downand moved it back and forth for about a half hour. the itch slowly went away. this worked for me try it to see if it work for you.

Anonymous said...

so... none of the above mentioned has worked for me. Lidocaine products just sting and cause more itching regardless of the fact that lidocaine is a topical anesthetic and should numb the itch at least to a mild degree. Aloe based products seem to just increase the itch by ten fold (quite possibly all the other junk included in the product), and cold anything is great if you can walk around all day with an ice pack on your back. But otherwise the only thing I have found thus far that takes the edge off is hefty amounts of Aquaphilic and a few shots of whiskey which is not recommended considering I work in a very large corporate environment twelve hours out of my day and I am certain that many of you as well can not drink on the job...
I have to deal with clients all day long on a face to face basis, and when the IT guy is twitching and making insane faces at his clients it does not go over so well with upper management when people complain that they think you might be two sandwiches shy of a picnic basket or going through withdraw... I can't add much advice on the itching part. But if you have a sun burn that hurts so bad you want to cry, slather Aquaphilic on it and within a couple of applications the pain will begin to subside as Aquaphilic is very moisturizing and as far as I know does not contain a lot of the garbage ingredients most lotions do. Check your local pharmacy, Aquaphilic is well known and is typically sold in a large white tub. Good luck..

Anonymous said...

Arrrrrrgggghhhh!!!! The mind melting, sanity numbing itch!

karen said...

So i was happy when i realized your posts were from this year but sorry it is already so far out of date. i guess this might help if you get another bad burn.

If you have had an "itchy" burn and think this might be another, take a shower right away and not for about 2 more days. Secondly, start treatments right away - it may help avoid the itch all together.

first - there is an old wives tale sort of cure, which is soaking strips of paper bag in vinegar. When they're saturated, you lie them overlapping over the burn, one end to the other. As they start to dry you replace them with new ones.

I think the vinegar has healing properties but didn't help me fast enough. For the person allergic to Aloe i would suggest the Vinegar, or calamine lotion - something the others have suggested but use the idea below to treat and smother it.

I didn't know the shower would set it off to a horrible extent. My brother has this happen every time he gets a burn so we talked a LOT.

For not allergic to aloe, do as everyone said and put a bunch of it on your stomach. Then cover it - My brother lets his shirt or the sheets stick to it then dry. The theory is that the air actually annoys the skin since its so tender and dry. I used Plastic wrap - which worked beautifully. My stomach was burned so i lied down on my back, did the vinegar for a little bit, then put a bunch of aloe on and covered it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Then i used an ice pack, and a heat pad (after the ice of course) on low and alternated them on the top and bottom of my stomach every minute or 2. this helped calm the itch and in a few minutes i was able to use more plastic wrap all the way around me to hold it in place, and get up and go about my day.

I also took benedryl, and some tylenol.

Have you ever seen people that are hand models, or those with severe skin fire/chemical burns, who have to cover it with special gloves or wrap so the air doesn't get at it? i think this is the same thing. When the burn is "sun poisoning" it seems to be bad enough to follow the same line of treatment.

Hope this helps someone!

Anonymous said...

OMG, that sunburn itch is the worst!!!

I got it pretty bad a few years ago when I went swimming. My shoulders and upper arms were fried. They blistered and after the blisters healed the ITCHING started. I would wake up on the middle of the night with it, and when I started itching it only made it worse. It's different than a regular itchy feeling. It feels like it's deep under your skin and no matter how much you scratch it won't help but makes it worse. I actually called the emergency room and asked a nurse what was wrong because I was getting scared. lol She said it was because my cells were regenerating so quickly. It was almost like a bug-crawling sensation.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I have a mild to moderate sunburn on one of my shoulders right now and the itching is bothering me but not as bad as the first time.

Anonymous said...

try doxepin will have to get it from your doc. Also...have him or her prescribe you some silvadene cream..this starts the healing right is used in the burn unit at Vandy.

Unknown said...

From personal experience I know how all of you feel. I have found two lotions that work rather well. They are called Respite and Sarna. They both contain Menthol as the active ingred. Don't get me wrong here, they don't stop it completely, but they give relief you could never imagine. They cost 8-17 dollars a bottle, but they are well worth the money. The bottle of Sarna actually says for Sunburn itch. Trust me, go buy a bottle and always have one on hand.

Anonymous said...

Son of a biatch! This is the worst thing in the world! I have had 3 kids, with no drugs, and this freaking hurts more than labour. It's not even pain, it's absolutely undescribeable unless you've been thru it. First burn in about 20 years, and certainly my last!
If nothing else, reading this took my mind off of the itch for a few to try my Bactine!

Ekemeister said...

Going through the itchy hell right now - my wife thought I was going crazy. I can say this - don't try to take a shower to relieve it, it'll just dry you out and make you curse everything around you. After the shower I put on some generic moisturizer (we didn't have anything else), which is what I'm working with right now. Last time I go rafting without dousing myself in sunscreen.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same state as all of you. But honestly the best thing for you to do is put on some Banana Boat Aloe lotion. It will itch...alot. But, you let it dry, once that is done you need to put a shirt on or you will itch to death.. The shirt helps a whole lot. Just keep this in mind while you try to control the urge to itch. The reason why it's itching is because that sunburn is finally healing Yea!!

Unknown said...

It won't stop itching! Thankfully only the top half of my back got burned. It been completely healed for 2 weeks now (done peeling since then) and it still itches! I have tried everything! Starting to wonder if I fried the nerve endings or gave myself skin cancer.

Carrie said...

I'm with Sarah on this... my burn was 4 weeks ago today and while the red and peeling are gone at least 2-3 times a day I want to claw the skin off of my back. I too am a bit freaked out that I may have given myself cancer (that's what I was googling before I found this). Just wish it would stop already. The worst is just about every night for the past 2 weeks I wake up at 4:00am in FITS over how bad it itches and I'm one that can't let an itch go by without a scratch... maybe I'll have to try a few of these remedies tonight and hopefully the itches will be gone finally. :)

Unknown said...

This site comes up in google when you search for "sunburn with unbearable itching". It truely is unbearable. I tried most creams and they work for about 15 minutes or so. I've resorted to zantec and tylenol. I'll let you know how well it works. I will say that being up and walking around makes it less obvious or at least slightly more bearable.

Anth said...

Just reading all the comments makes me feel a little bit better. I keep twitching and I'm losing my mind and it's only day one of the itch. I work with mostly idiots and trying to deal with their asinine BS and controlling a twitch is near impossible. I'm at the point of ripping my hair out I can't take this

Anonymous said...

thank you for these - they described my last hour in extremis perfectly. thrashing about like a man possessed in my hotel room, not able to think straight, wailing and contorting like i'd been electrocuted. It is completely unbearable. Like nothing I've experienced.

A cold shower took the edge off for about 15 minutes, but in the end this was no match for The Great Itch. It returned with a vengeance, excruxiating... I was in a bind without any access to help (alone, cheap hotel..blind panic at this point) so slapped on some factor 30 sunblock, and mercifully the itch began to ebb away. It's still there but is bearable and at least i can get out to buy some lotions.

Before the sunscreen, I tried soap/shampoo, but that nearly ended me, as it seemed to feed the itch.

...and of course it hurts to scratch sunburn, and it's not effective anyway. oh torment...

Anonymous said...

so i had a sunburn 2 days ago, it was all fine (usual sunburn pain), until just now when i bought a "NiveaSun-Moisturizing After Sun Lotion with Aloe Vera" after lunch, i apply it on my back, generouslly.....and.........ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,******************ITCHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY, i quickly take a shower, it does help, but i cant stay in shower forever, until now, the table fan is directly blowing at my back, i try not to scratch it, try to be calm and write this post.
It seems like everyone had a different method or allergic to different lotion/cream/aloe vera. just be cautious when you are using these thing.

Jonathan Gill said...

This itch is .... UNBEARABLE. I called my pharmacist and they told me to take some benadryl so i sent my mom out to get some. I dont think i could drive like this. ide rather go through the pain of a sunburn than this itch... IM FREAKING OUT.

Anonymous said...

WOW thought i was going to scratch the skin off my body today !!

I went to the beach on sunday, and got BADLY burnt all over. . Monday i was in terrible pain and could not handle the sunburn pain. Then today (Tuesday) i started itching, and couldnt scratch because of the sunburn pain. . i also havnt been able to wear a shirt since sunday evening, but now after reading some posts i saw 1 mentioning wearing a shirt kind of helps as the skin is not exposed to the air, which makes your skin dry. So i put a shirt on now - lets hope it helps :P ??

ive been using moisturising lotion since sunday, and today got 2 other "lotions" 1 is a cool aftersun gel (on the bottle sais soothes sunburnt skin with added vitamin E . . . and a whole lot of other information) i have only used it twice today and it seems to help a little, hopefully tomorrow when i use it, it takes the pain and itch away. then the second product is super freeze gel which sais calm and soothes skin, and has tea tree oil and aloe vera in it. i will start using it tomorrow.

Hope using 2 diferrent products doesnt make things worse ? But i cant handle this itching irriation any longer. I just hope it goes away QUICKLY ! !

I am also drinking a lot of water, which is something that all sunburnt victims should do.

Anonymous said...

AAAHHH!! Just back from Mexico...sans sunscreen on my alabaster skin...
This is what has been working for me-Vicodin with a shot of vodka...doesn't really stop the itch but you don't care afterward.

Anonymous said...

there is no stopping it. yet sharing the pain helps a lot. i got maggoted
tbh its the only way

Anonymous said...

yep, it's the worst thing in the world...

the only thing that seemed to work is to have a shower for 3 hours or rub xylocaine on your back, that is if you don't mind the possible side effects...

Anonymous said...

This itch is ridiculous
Been awake since 3am, what has helped me is not touching the itch at all, putting lotion on it just made it worse for me, i drank heaps of water, stayed calm and put a shirt on, also reading this post has taking my mind of it for a while
this helped alot for me

Anonymous said...

sunburn itch gear

Anonymous said...

I suffered the same thing! What helped me a lot was Iced Tea!! I was much relieved after 20 min. Try it!!

Chris M said...

I'm experiencing it right now and I must admit, at this time of the morning when no shops are open, there's basically nothing you can do.

I took a cold bath - bad idea, the water clearly dries out the skin and makes it worse. I have moisterizers, but I fear those will only make things worse. One thing I haven't tried and it does make sense.. milk. Whenever you burn yourself, milk is one of the best remedies, just not sure if I want to take the risk to be honest.

I've put a shirt on and am reading this thread, which has helped a little bit, so thank you for starting this!

To the powers above - lesson learnt, sunscreen from here on!

Anonymous said...

I am 30 years old guy, but wanna cry like a little girl and then get someone to just shoot me ASAP. I can feel every single follicle of my hairy back and chest itching and hurting, driving me insane. Thanks for sharing, maybe reading that some others lived through it and survived will help me to get through this long night of 2-nd day sunburn itch.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Im in the same boat as most of you! Woke up this morning, day 2 after the sun burn, and i was in agony, the itch is a killer! it kept getting worse and worse! i jumped into a cold shower only to find that it stoped itching only while i was in it. as soon as i got out, it got worse! i put generic moisteriser on it and decieded to try and cool it even further. got the ice packs and put then all over me, very quickly it started to reduce. it definitly settles it! but how long does this phase last!

Anonymous said...

I went to the tanning bed with my friend to get some vitamin e since this never ending winter is driving me into sunless depression. However, i, for the first time, went in naked. I am now paying for my decision. my chest is bright red and itches like no other. i have never been in such agony. i am about to go crying to my mother it itches so bad. Ive tried vinegar and itch cream, to no avail. a shower only helped while i was in it. we have no aloe in the house and its 3 am and i cannot drive in this torture. The only relief i have found is reading others similar stories on this thread.

Unknown said...

this is the worst!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a jogger. I found going running for a couple of miles does the trick. It shouldn't be hard. By this time you are ready to run down the street like a raving lunatic anyway. Not sure why, but once you start sweating it opens you pores and you feel normal again. The sunburn itch has happened to me twice in my life. This is the only thing that ended it. No amount of lotions lessoned the itching. Running did!

Anonymous said...

I am saddend yet relieved that there are other people out there who are experiencing the same mind-numbing, all consuming itch!! Thanks to the lady that said that its more painful than labour cause this is seriously the most unbelievable thing in the world. This happened to me once when I was a kid too, think I would've learned my lesson. I read online that the itch is as a result of second degree burns and that it is your bodies way of warning you that you were over exposed to UV light (thanks tips) - I have tried almost everything; lanacaine, benadryl (I even bought the nighttime benadryl with 50 mg of medicine in it that's supposed to make you sleepy) - its not helping at all. I don't think my boyfriend believes how much pain I am actually in. We are supposed to go on a ski trip this weekend, 5 hours in a truck and a chalet with 10 people I havent met yet. I am scared that I am going to look like a crazy person!!! My skin is a little bit pink, no peeling, no blisters (although I honestly think that the hot, tight, painfulness of a sunburn is better than this f-ing itch!!!, my skin is tacky cause it is so soaked in moisterizers and topical ointments. I took three benadryl about an hour and a half ago and it does little to help. The best thing is to consume a lot of alcho...I mean water and try and sleep and let your body figure this stuff out!!! The burn happend the day before yesterday, yesterday was the dawning of the itch, so I am hoping that its going to subside soon, cause I honestly feel like killing something! It is orgasmic to scratch, but the burning and itching only worsens after scratching. Mind over mattter seems impossible, but its all I've got. Im going to try the vinegar thing when I get home...I get to meet new people smelling like vinegar, awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

my heart goes out to you all, I have very pale skin and know that I burn esaily, but stupidly went in the sun two days ago and got very badly burnt on my arms, shoulders, neck and face....the itching starting this morning after I had a shower.....I wish I had not done that, the pain which was excruciating yesterday was seeming to sibside. I went to the Dr on Monday and he prescribed a steroid cream which was good for the burn itself, but it is doing little today...I have just tried the vinegar and am getting Paraderm cream...I am told this should help.....I am trying not to itch, but this is a killer...I applaud those of you that can go to work, becuase right now I can't even put clothes on in theis condition....Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Like many of you are saying... the itch related to post-pain sunburn is like nothing I've ever experienced. To try though I feel like its "bugs-crawling-pin-pricking-waves of torture". The initial wave is slight, so you scratch it. The following just got worse and worse until I found myself alternating between pacing in a circle in my room screaming and cradling myself in the fetal position begging a higher power to take this forsaken feeling away.

Three years ago between my freshman and sophmore year in college I went to the beach with a few friends in BOSTON for only a couple of hours and got pretty badly burned on my shoulders and back. I started to blister and the pain from it kept waking me up for about three nights. In my ingenious state I decided that taking many cold showers was the best way to soothe my burning skin - FALSE. The water only dried out my skin more which lead to the.... ITCHING. Everything I tried failed. My skin was so dry from the sun exposure and constant water I didn't know what I was going to do and wanted to murder someone and rip my skin off at the same time.

So.... I went to my doctor and he had some great points for me - none of that B.S. about prevention because that OBVIOUSLY doesn't help once you're six feet under.

1. Avoid any forms of water. Don't shower, don't use cold compresses, NOTHING water or alcohol based as these will dry you out even more.

2. Stay calm. Breathe deeply. Think of it as a quasi meditation. Try and sit perfectly still, close your eyes, take slow deep breathes, and focus your thoughts on something other than that forsaken itch.

3. Take an antihistamine like benadryl. It relieves some of the intensity of the itch and makes you drowsy and can help you get to sleep in the evenings. Caution though not to become dependent on this.

4. A ultra-moisturizing hypoalergenic cream with vitamins A, D, and E. This is probably the second most important thing you can do. It provides moisture to the surface of the skin.

5. DRINK MORE WATER THAN YOU CAN THINK YOU CAN STAND. This is the most important. Just like it feels like your skin is crawling from the inside you need to help treat the problem from the inside. Think about it this way. Burned skin is dry skin. Dry skin flakes and can act like little razor blades caught under the rest of the layers of your skin and causes the itch. Drinking plently of fluids helps your body carry away those little razor blades and allows nice new cells to take place.

Kind of a bizzare thing I'm not sure how to explain but the itch on my back sometimes makes my legs also itch and twitch - seems a bit strange to me.

Anonymous said...

i totally understand i went tanning in a tanning bed for too long and got burned all over. the burn it finally gone but the itch started this afternoon and i have been stark raving crazy trying not to rip my back off! but i just tryed the vinager and it is seeming to help a little. the aloe almost seemed like it made it worse if i would have read this site earlier i would have skipped my shower!

Anonymous said...

oh, I HAD to come back here and comment!!! I posted a week or so ago and my heart STILL aches for you. The tanning bed girl, I hear you, thats exactly what happend to me. Seriously the vinegar works wonders. Take strips of either paper bag or paper towel and soak those in vinegar. Once your skin has absorbed the vinegar, re-dress the strips and yourself.
DO not go back into the salon in that same bed for a long time. Go back two days after the itch occured and cut your time in HALF, seriously. The itch and the burn are going to slow down the healing process, so please dont try to make up for lost time.
I am back at the tanning salon now, if my skin feels at all tight when Im done, I dont go back the second day, its not worth it. When youre in a bed, you can feel your skin burn, that pin prick sensation means youre burning...get out!
Also, if your skin is super fair or even just fair, use a spf5 in the beds. It helps, a lot. Make sure your tanning cream has vitamins and aloe in it. DO NOT use creams to sooth your burn that are scented, make sure you only use unsented creams.
Aveeno oatmeal unscented is the best one.
The other question is how long will the itch last...depends on your burn. I was burned enough that my entire core was red and hot to the touch and the itch lasted for 4 days. Good luck. Gravol will knock you out if you need to sleep.

corrinebean said...

The 5 points from Anonymous above are perfect... drink a ton of water, do NOT take long showers (try not to shower if at all possible), take some antihistamines, keep yourself calm, DON'T TOUCH IT, and slather on the ultra-moisturizing lotions!

I swear - I don't know what's worse - the pain from the burn, or the itching! My burns on my back, in all of these incredibly hard to reach places...and I work in a professional office and have to attend a lot of meetings...the last few days have been absolute torture!

Anonymous said...

This is probably a fate worse than death right now, being woken up at 3:00 in the A.M with this absolutely dreadful itching. My shirt is stained with frustrated tears, and Ive been slathering and spraying all sorts of stuff on it and NOTHING is working ;(

Anonymous said...

I am going through the same thing now. I have been putting solarcaine on and it itches for about 15 minutes but then subsides.

Anonymous said...

How many days before it stops? Going into day 3 with less than 3 hours sleep in total. Kill me already!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Ladies and Gents,

I have the solution. After suffering for days with the I'm-going-to-crawl-outta-my-skin itch I took a cool bath with Aveeno Oatmeal Soothing Bath Treatment. Believe me when I say you'll have relief.


Anonymous said...

Reading this post is chicken soup for the sun lover's soul! I have always been a burn-then-tan kind of a gal and didn't think much of the sunburn I got a few days ago on my spring break in Florida. It was pink and a little ouchy, but didn't worry me too much. Now, three nights later when I thought I was well down the road to recovery, I am faced with this mind warping, skin crawling, inhuman itch. All the comments about how painful this itch is can hardly touch on the reality of how unbearable this is!
First, I squirmed and writhed in bed for an hour. Then I tried distracting myself by petting my cat. Then my zombie of a boyfriend finally woke up and suggested that I take a luke-warm shower, which helped for the first minute or so but then seemed to make matters even worse (I would thereby suggest either skipping this step or controlling your impulse to stay in the water for more than just a short cool rinse). I took 3 benadryl and 3 tylenol (which I have heard multiple times is one of the best ways to help sunburn). I also applied Nivea body lotion which helped temporarily. I am not usually a big fan of aloe gel because of how sticky it gets but believe me it makes a huge difference. I am currently slathered in it (even places that didn't burn feel like mexican jumping beans now) and sitting under the fan while my boyfriend snoozes away. I reccommend buying an aloe that has lidocaine if possible but also menthol or peppermint are extremely helpful for this. I wonder if tea tree oil products would be good?
Also, how long can I expect to suffer this phase of my healing? My pink has already turned into bronze and I never would have predicted my skin was about to pull this stunt on me-- I'm hoping it lasts no longer than the pink-hot phase of the burn.
My one last therapeutic suggestion: pack up a big bowl of weed and smoke that shit up! Pot can cure any woe.

Anonymous said...

Wish i found this website earlier. I woke up at 3 in the morning also in agony, the only thing i could think of doing was having a shower. Which caused pain relief whilst in the shower but as soon as you hop out of the shower the pain returns. I ended up spending 5 hours in the shower. I just found this blog so ill try some of these remedies. There seriously cant be anything more painful then this!

Anonymous said...

I cant believe this happened to me again! I forgot entirely about how miserable the itch was...happened first two years ago. I had to leave work it was so bad. Made it through last summer, and then this week was so nice I was outside, no shirt in the garden and my back got burnt. Nothing too bad, red, but not wicked painful. That was Thursday, tonight (Saturday) I took a shower (first one of the day.) HUGE MISTAKE as soon as I got out of the shower it started. I put on a TON of aloe. NO RELIEF. I have now taken Unisom, Advil, and Loratadine.

I want to start punching everything. This sucks.

I would pay Hundreds of dollars for a cure right now...

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found some people on here who understand what I am going through right now! I'm pretty sure my husband thinks I am nuts right now, since I was completely fine one minute. Then he put some lotion (scented, which was probably a bad idea) on my sunburn, which I thought I was nearly out of the worst of it, going on the 3rd day. Anyway, out of no where I'm going nuts in the room telling him that I've never felt anything like this in my entire life....this itching, burning, tingling on my back. I took a cool shower and have been pacing through the house saying more curse words than ever come out of my mouth. Of course I don't have any aloe in the house. My husband probably still thinks I'm crazy, so Thank You all for the comments and the blog, letting me know that this is, in fact, very common, and I'm not crazy!

Anonymous said...

Well it seems that I'm right here with the rest of you in a miserable state about to rip the skin from my chest. I have tried just about everything I have in the house at this point. This is Day 3 after the burn and I have been treating it the whole time. Right now it's not so bad as Straight Jack Daniel's has a way of making anything feel good. LOL
30 minutes ago I was about to commite suicide by beating myself to death. How stupid can I be to do this to myself. I have called in reinforcememnts and am getting some calamine lotion and some benadryl brought to me. I don't thnk I would want to drive at this point even if I wasn't drunk as road rage doesn't even compare to the sunburn itch rage.

Anonymous said...

CRAP!!!! CRAP!!! CRAP!!! I'm going crazy at work with this itch right now. shaking and twitching. Rubbing everything in the 1st aid kit on my chest. Ibuprofen and burn cream has helped a little. I was fine one minute and then worked up a sweat and then it hit. Unbearable. The running man obviously is a sadist. The sweat got the whole thing going. My wife has almost the same problem. got a little hot at work and then it hit. She had some benedryl and cold air and said that helped her some. I used a paper towel to scratch with so I wouldn't dig my skin off.

Anonymous said...

just rolling a cold water bottle on my burn and putting a shirt on has helped allot. I thought I was crazy when I believed it was the lotions that were supposed to help made it itch worse when it got sticky!! thanks to ya'll I know I am not.

Anonymous said...

I had this happen as kid, and 25 years later it is still the worst I've ever felt. I'm sure these products people are describing work, but at the time all I had nothing, and a call to the doctor just got me on the line with a nurse who thought I was whining about a little itchiness.

The ONE thing I found that kept me from hurting myself (seriously) was very hot running water directly onto the area.

Ryan said...

I too had the rip our skin off itching about two hours ago. I disagree with the do not shower comments. I thought I was getting over the burn so I went to mow then lawn. I decided to shower after only was in for about 5-10 minutes, as soon as I dried off the itching started, little by little until it was so unbearable. So I got back into the shower, which made the majority of the itching go away while I was in it, for about 30 more minutes. This time it took little longer for the itching to set it, although it wasn't as severe as the initial itching. So I then got back into the shower for another hour. I got out and slathered Fruit Of the Earth 100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel on my back and chest and feel 1000x better then I did.

I think taking the shower for so long put moisture back into my skin that wasnt there before, and bought me some time after I got out to put on the aloe vera gel. Just went to the drug store to buy some Benadryl going to see how that goes. Start a new job tomorrow, would hate to have to call in and explain to them why.

Anonymous said...

OOOHHH - I feel your pain!!! I am going through it right now!!! Lotions seem only to make it worst at first but once it dries it does feel better. I itched my way to the store and found Benadryl - itch stopping gel. The use includes SUNBURN among minor burns. I applied this on my chest and it began to itch worst but seems to be relieving the itch slowly. I am glad to have found this site and it eases me to know others are/have gone through this also. My only question is how long does the itching last???? Wow this is horrible.

Anonymous said...

I have had this happen to me twice. Once was a burn on my stomach about 6 years ago and 3 weeks ago I burnt my back and had the same episode. My older brother has also experienced it. It's like a swarm of 1,000 hornets landed on my skin and are incessantly stinging/biting. Feels like my nerve endings are unleashing a fury unlike anything that can be described. Do I sound like I'm being dramatic? I think I'm actually understating how unbearable the experience is. I have found no remedy to this horrible condition (aloe actually seemed to make it worse) other than calling in sick to work and drinking myself into a stooper. When you know you screwed up (spent too much time in the sun) and the "itches are coming" keep a bottle of alcohol on's the only thing that I've found to numb the stinging/itching lightning bolts that make you feel like putting a gun in your mouth to make it stop. To be clear, I don’t mean rubbing alcohol…I mean booze (rum is my drink of choice). Just be careful not to overdo it. Know your tolerance and make a toast to happier times…bottoms up! Unlike most every other situation, the answer to this affliction lies at the bottom of a bottle. *Also be sure to drink plenty of water.

My heart goes out to all of you that have experienced this hell on earth. Both of my itching episodes have lasted only one day (both times, it started 48 hours after the initial sun exposure and immediately following a shower). On the second day after the torturous itching began, every so often I would get a little twinge, but nothing like the full blown fury of the day before. Hang in there!

Unknown said...

I am freaking out right now. Reading this blog helped so much, but it just won't go completely away. I have sunburn on my back that didn't hurt at all. I got burnt and went out the same night to a club, came back, showered and felt fine. I was fine the next day as well. But now it's 2 days later and it is the worst feeling i have ever felt. It was all triggered by taking a shower after working out.

After the shower i grabbed some aloe from a friend in my dorm and put it all over it, all it did was make it worse so i jumped in the shower which felt euphoric (no exaggeration). Now i'm laying in bed, i popped 2 extra strength Tylenol and I'm chugging waters. There's a handle of rum in my fridge, but i have to wait because of the Tylenol, then that's going to be my next move. I REALLY REALLY hope this ends soon because I'm going absolutely insane.

Unknown said...

OMG!!!!! i am only 13 but oh my god this is horrible i have blisters on my shoulders(like a gazillion) i popped 2 huge ones,and this itch is like what can i say you guys pretty much got it i stayed home from school it is so bad hope this ends by tomorrow cause i have a prodject due! mom thinks im crazy my brother thinks im insane and ive been doing this for 2 days... GGGGGRRRRR i wanna kill something or smash something all while im trying to reprogram my computer(on my bro's) but some of the things helped. you TRUELY have to go through this to believe the pain.

neversleepingalwaysdreaming said...

Same problem. Horrible sunburn, took a shower two days later and afterwards, unbearable itching. My dad told me he has the same problem after a bad sunburn and that it's all due to dry skin. I drank a bottle of water and lathered my skin with half a jar of the body butter I usually use post-shower and sure enough about fifteen minutes later the itching subsided. It's been gone for about an hour now and hopefully it will not return so long as i keep drinking water and using tons of lotion. The stuff I use is burt' s bees thoroughly therapeutic body butter (shae butter and honey), but I'm sure whatever thoroughly moisturizing cream you use will do the trick. I'd stick to all-natural, hypoallergenic products to avoid further irritating the skin. Good luck, I hope this helps you like it helped me!

ALSO do not use products that contain alcohol, they will only dry out the skin and make things worse. Most brands of aloe vera gel and anti-itch lotion contain alcohol so read the label before you cause yourself more pain!

Anonymous said...


Do not use ANYTHING with ALCOHOL
Do not Shower - warm or cold (or more to the point, don't stand in the shower with your back under the water.

This is all caused by EXTREMELY dry skin as the sunburned skin has no ability to retain hydration.

Best advice I can give is don't scratch, and cortizone-10 with cooling sensation is mint for relief, works in 5-10 minutes, itch practically gone. Re-apply every 3-4 hours (phone a friend)

Nick said...

Well, got in the shower this morning, usual sunburn pains. No itch in my future as far as I can tell. Go to school. Still no itch. I leave for lunch break with my girlfriend and head over to my house, where we proceeded to watch some youtube videos of some amazing things. I start to get a bit of an itch on my lower back, where I got minimally burnt 2 days prior. I scratch it a bit, and the itch just wouldn't go away. It wasn't a really overpowering itch, just a small usual itch I would get on healing skin. It slowly works its way up my back to where I couldn't comfortably reach any longer, so I ask my girlfriend to gently scratch around my shoulder-blade region. She leaves back to school and it's just me that remains in front of the computer. I take my shirt off because it starts to hurt a bit. I get that same itch in my chest, so I start to scratch it. The itch gets worse. and worse. and worse. I eventually can't bare it any more, so I sit in front of my power fan and scratch and let the cool air blow onto my chest. This does NOT help at all. It made it worse. I frantically, only being able to type 2 words every few seconds before raising my hands to scratch again, google for some solutions and come across a yahoo answers page (It helped, sort of). I ran downstairs like a madman as fast as my legs could possibly carry me. I reach into the freezer for some ice cubes and just rub them all over my chest and top of my shoulders and upper arms now. It had started to spread. The cubes were a temporary fix, and it just got worse. I get under the sink and splash myself with water, not being able to think and making a huge mess. About 15 minutes later I figure this is only going to get worse and I'm almost in tears here, with my sister's boyfriend poking fun at me and I'm starting to get angry. Nothing is going to save me. I am literally in a panic here and after making a huge water/banana boat aloe mixture mess around the sink, I run upstairs to my mom and ask for her help. She scolds me for being an idiot for even going out under the sun without any sun protection on. I'm in a wimpy state of mind and start wailing but not crying. My sister says she just packed some sport SPF 30 on her boyfriend when he got burnt. I went to my car and got my sunblock. Sprayed that on. Instant relief.

Although the sunblock didn't work for long, it worked long enough to help me think sanely to find another supplement. I got a hold of some oooooollldd stuff which i don't think is made any more and sprayed it all over. It helped, but I occasionally get the abrupt itch on my back and arms. It's bearable, and I'm back down to earth. Now going to return to school.

Moral: After being burnt a lot of times (especially the first time of the summer when it's the worst) I'm going to now, for the first time, listen to my mom when she says put sun screen on. Guys, I can't stress this enough myself, wear the damn sunscreen. I'd rather have any part of my body be tortured than have this itch again.

Anonymous said...


I went to the beach this weekend and lots of times I like to believe i'm invincible, who needs sunscreen? I DO. That was Saturday. I was out of commission all of Sun, Mon, and Tuesday; I couldn't move a muscle without pain. Today I woke up feeling great! still pink, peeling, but no pain. I looked at my clock, I'm about to be late for class! So I jumped in the shower, hurried out, put on some clothes and went to class. UHHHHHH... half way through the class I starting itching like a madman. I thought my head was going to explode as I was trying to resist my hands from going crazy on my body. My professor looked at me like I was insane..I immediately grabbed my bag and ran out of the class! Came home and tried to put aloe on it...yeah this made it probably ten times as bad for a couple minutes. This is when I was on the floor..I was pleading for Jesus to come was that bad.

I've got a tee-time in an hour. I think i'm gonna go. Two things could happen. A) gets my mind of things, sweating opens up pores, feel good? B) The heat aggravates the itching, I try to bear it, but it becomes unbearable, and I sprint like a mad man to my car. Let's hope its the former!

Anonymous said...

i'm going crazy...exactly 41 hours ago, i went for a 2 and a half hour bike ride...biggest mistake of my life...i woke up this morning with a little itch..45 minutes later i'm itching like a dog infested with fleas and crying like a 6 year old school girl...a couple of years ago i got run over by a ford f-150...i had a hernia surgury 4 months ago and niether compares to the insanity of this itchy sunburn...if your reading this , you know exactly what i mean(and i feel sorry for you, seriously)benadril cream sooths temperarily but the first 15 minutes you put it on ,put a gag in your mouth cause it aint nothing nice.i have not itched for an hour but the itch is coming back and its getting worse by the second..i have to go........... GOD HELP ME!!!

Anonymous said...

I was in the "somebody kill me now stage" I was going insane with itching. I put a button up shirt on to keep air off my burnt back, I downed benadryl, took two shots of rum and breathed slowly. It worked. There is hope.

Mary said...

Oh my Lord, kill me! I can't take uit. It has beeen 24 hours. How much longer should I have to deal with this? It was even that bad of a sunburn! Ughhhh!

Anonymous said...

Just the most useful information on the net. This itching is simply killing me and everyone around thinks i am emphasizing.

Cool aloe gel are a bliss. Put some regularly and as soon as possible.
Add to this 3L of water per day minimum and a lot of meditative exercises.
Indeed, avoid showers.

Ah and just read all the comments here. By the time i got to the end, i didn't feel any itching anymore without any cream or medication!
Thanks to all.

Anonymous said...

Went to a beach for a little get together Sunday and had mild sunburn,but when i went for a shower this particular morning as soon as i came out the itching started. When I was a child i ingested poison by mistake and had a terrible time and I also busted my head badly another time...


Cold water provided some relief,bought milk as well.. I got a sunburn spray and that helped a little bit,but now it is acting up again. I have now resorted to using my mental toughness to ride this thing out. Tomorrow is my 20th birthday, so i think of it as a rites of passage.
Taking it like a man!!!

Used Bucket Trucks said... I was out in the sun on Sunday with my family and didn't reapply sunscreen as I should have. As a result, my back became the color of a lobster. My whole family, including my little girls (both under three years old), sustained sunburns. Thankfully, for them, they have that awesome Mexican skin that heals into a nice, glowing tan. Not so much for me. I'm whitey McWhiterson and I burn easily. If it's a slight burn, it'll tan. My arms, my chest, my legs, and my face are all a nice shade of brown. My back is not. It's red. On Sunday, Monday, and the majority of was just painful and a pain in the ass. Last night, however, the itching started and it is KILLING ME!!!! As someone else stated, it is worse than labor. Granted, I had drugs w/ my labors. They were still painful, but this is excruciating!!! I would rather be in labor right now. At least at the end of all of that pain you get a cute, slimy, little bundle of joy to hug and kiss. In an attempt to get some sleep so that I could function this morning at work, I slathered on some lotion with oatmeal along with aloe...and it helped a tiny little bit. I kept having to reapply it. I just popped a non-drowsy Claritin to see if that will far, nada. I have a lidocaine spray, so I will try that in a little bit if the Claritin doesn't kick in.

I hate this!!! What I wanna know long is it gonna last? I mean, really? I have a full time job and two little girls who rely on their mother being coherent... I can't be a zombie with no sleep :( It's tickin' me off. I guess venting helps a little...and I suppose that's what I'm doing. Thanks for "listening." Dumb dumb DUMB!!!!! How could I have been so dumb as to not reapply?? I even reapplied to my daughters and they STILL got burned!!!! WOW!!!! That sun is some powerful stuff!!! Here's to relief :)

Anonymous said...

Now twenty years old lol, it still itches. Menthol rub ( topical analgesic ) helped to numb the itching. I used calamine lotion one time before for a rash,so perhaps it is indeed a solution. The oatmeal thing I saw around the web as well. Hope this thing bugs off soon,while non-threatening as it is this is the worst thing i have experienced medically. Weaponize this and your military wins FOREVER.

Dash said...

Hey all,

I've experienced this horrible itch a half dozen times throughout my life, the first time being when I was about 8 years old at the beach. I was a stupid kid, and my family wasn't responsible, and I got FRIED ..... 2 days later, insanity. Nobody understood what I was going through. My extended family thought I was a brat, my poor little self couldn't even express the pain / itch / torture and twitching that I was experiencing.

So, 20 years later, and several experiences later, I have become severely paranoid of getting burnt. But, in a moment of drunken idiocy, I allowed myself to get burnt really badly all over my shoulders and chest over the weekend. Immediately the next morning I got the fear of the itch, so I started reading everything online, and guess what .... I have avoided it! Here's what I did:

Immediately started drinking tons of water and taking Aspirin and allergy meds within 12 hours of the burn. Took Oatmeal and Baking soda baths and even cooked oatmeal, put it in the freezer, and rubbed it all over my body and let it sit for 20 minutes. I looked ridiculous but it felt AMAZING. Washed the oatmeal off w/ cold water and immediately followed by dabbing vinegar all over the burned areas of the skin. Never towel yourself dry, always use a fan or air dry. Put natural skin moisturizers on and avoid itching no matter what. Also, avoid any activity that may make you sweat as this has triggered it in the past. I called in sick 2 days to work and just worked from home in a very cool atmosphere.

After a horrible burn, 3 days, 4 nights later I am still OK. There are small itches but nothing unbearable to what I remember before. Good luck!

Joe said...

This is my second sunburn itch and I can't believe that i did it again. The first time it happened I went on vacation to VA Beach beautiful place. I kept my shirt on most of my time there unless I was in the water but I didn't really burn from that. My last day on the beach I walked for about two hours no shirt, not a good idea for anyone without sunscreen especially if your Irish. I burnt like crazy, but I've always been good with sunburn pain, it doesn't bother me. Anyways two days later I start with this uncontrolable itch on my back. It got so bad that i just wanted to die. I was freaking out. I jumped in the shower which immediatly worsened my condition, then I tried aloe, lots and lots of aloe, which was no good. Nothing helped, finally I got over it in about 2 days but it was unbearabe, I was yelling, jumping around, and punching my floor trying to keep from strangling myself. Now I have it again as I work in construction and these days you never know what the weather will be like. So I took my shirt off to help the heat and the day went on I was fine not a bad burn yet but then I git home and it hit me. Again the burn did not bother me until today two days later. Reading this site helps, I think because I'm in a cool house and sitting still. But the hydrocortizone did not help, the aloe, did not help, the sunburn relief did not help. Nothing helps but I think I'm going to take my aloe and my fan and just blast myself with cool air for the next two days. Thanks everyone who has gone through this, I don't feel like such a whimp now.

Anonymous said...

I have gotten no sleep tonight i have been up all night (its currently 5:20 am) and am waiting until 6 a.m. for stores to open. I am going insane!!! My back keeps having spasms and i cant take it anymore!! I have tried cold showers, hot showers basically everything you had tried before aloe... i hope when i finally get it that it works cause I'm going crazy!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Holy f**ing bomb shells this is FREAKING INSANE!!! i keep having spazzes that make my whole body twitch the hell out. Today i felt a minor itch after i finished bench pressing 275lbs and i must admit it wasn't the best idea bench pressing with a 2day old sunburn. When i got home, the small itch died out and everything was okay. 3 hours later i finally lay my head to rest and then it feels like the hand of god smited my back with his fury. I've never heard or have felt something so insane in my life. I totally enjoyed my 30min sit in the shower cause the itching went away, but after i patted myself dry & returned to my room, it felt as if ants were crawling under my back. Now i know how crackheads feel when they get a bad trip & literally peel their skins off. Fortunately i have enough will power to supress that urge & honestly, reading all these comments helped so much. It astounds me that i've sunburnt my legs to a purple color to the point i've had to crawl all day, and yet this itching far surpasses that pain. To everyone else who's had to deal with this & survived, Kudos to you & i think we should all deserve a medal. I'm going to try watch videos that takes my mind off the itching, but the major spasms i'm having is going to make it hard. I feel like turning into the Juggernaut and tackling every wall in my house to subdue the itching. Seriously, if you can close your eyes & meditate the itching away, YOU HAVE REACHED ENLIGHTMENT. I'm trying to do that now, failing beyond recognition. Have a good early morning everyone :) PS: putting on a shirt made a huuuuuuuge difference, thx for the advice!

Anonymous said...

This itch is awful. However, do stay calm, drink water to hydrate the skin, alcohol to numb the pain and I have wrap the top half of my back in cling film to stop the air getting to it. It helped instantly. Also, apply a little pressure onto the itch and for some reason this helped (stopped the access to air maybe) I am now waiting to see how I am in the morning. I am a teacher and so I must have a shower before standing in front of a load of kids. I am really hoping the itch doesn't return with a vengence or I may have to call in sick. Sound wimpish I know, but that itch is unbearable.

Anonymous said...

Valium people valium, that is the only way to get through THE itch! I tried everything you guys suggested - nothing worked. Finally about 4am my wonderful wife got up and gave me a valium (she is a doctor). I still itched like mad - but just didn't care - and was soon fast asleep. [coming down from valium is not fun - better than THE itch - but not fun] The best thing to take from this is no more sunburn' for me. Im going to buy a stash of sunscreen!

Unknown said...

After reading the comments here, I downed a lot of water, two Benadryl tablets, and two Tylenol tablets, then coated myself in Gold Bond (the label says "Gold Bond Ultimate restoring skin therapy lotion"

The itch isn't gone, but it's subsided enough that I think I can go to sleep now.

Anonymous said...

This morning i was driven insane by the non stopping itch that covered my entire upper body because of blistering sunburn. i am in day three of the burn and most of the sunburn pain is over (except my shoulders that are still in extreme pain.) I have had bad sunburns like this before but have never experienced this torcherous itching before!! stuck at work i was driven to tears by the uncontrollable, unforgiving, unstoppable, unbelievable itch that i couldn’t deal with. after reading almost this entire thing i left work to retrieve some solarcaine. ive read that it works and that it doesn’t so i thought i would come on to how it worked for me and hopefully find some other poor soul some relief. I used it in the store at about 10 am and had the lady at the counter spray me down front and back. Praying for instant relief the pain of the itching reduced a little bit and i was praising the lords. within 3 min the itching was back in full and i had a bit of a breakdown! the good news is that about 10 min after the initial spraying the itch was almost completely gone with only about 15 % of the itch left. it is now 12:13 and the itching is slowly creeping in intensity and consistency. Im happy to say that I found 2 hours of relief and will be reapplying shortly

Anonymous said...

Real happy to find out I'm not the only one with this ridiculous reaction to a sunburn. Some background: I'm a fair skinned ginger-kid that cannot tan, only burn. I'm a repeat offender too...had this when I was a kid and swore to everything sacred and holy I would never put myself through that shit again. Passing out on the beach completely trashed is exactly what I should have avoided.

THE ITCH started about 2 days after I got the sunburn, coming in waves that got increasingly intense. I got zero sleep the whole night, and the only relief I could find was standing under a very hot shower. I think the steam and strong water pressure combined to ease the spasmic itching. Lotion or aloe DID NOT HELP, in fact it got worse. DO NOT scratch either, use a soft towel and lightly rub it up and down. Pressure helps too, but Ive never tried the plastic wrap trick.

I'm convinced this is not the sunburn itching, but rather some kind of allergic reaction since it seems to be underneath the skin and before any kind of peeling/blistering starts.

Nobody understands why I cannot "endure a simple sunburn", so I show them this blog and this video on youtube:
I totally feel for this guy :(

I have yet to read about a reliable cure for this mind-crippling, muscle-twitching, head-into-the-wall-bashing, unbearably-torturous ITCH. The best I can describe it is having a bad fiberglass rash while being covered in fireants. I just wanted to add to this blog in the hope that it helps somebody out, because no one deserves to suffer through this. Also, thanks to the blog creator and all commentors.

Anonymous said...

honestly i havent itched yet but i had a burn a few weeks ago that itched like crazy for a few hours then stopped. yesterday i went to the beach. beautiful day here in rhode island. and got burned badly all over. since then i have been using aloe to soothe the pain but havent showered yet because i didnt want to cause more pain. now im really grateful i hadnt cause it seems to be causing everyone else a great deal of agony. im just trying to stay still at this point and refraining from sun exposure cause im afraid to get itchy.. heres to hoping i dont itch. lol

itching lunatic said...

Wow, this blog has been an unfortunate slice of entertainment and comfort for myself while i dread every moment of my existence.

Sunday I went to the beachfor 2 hrs and applied my sun screen liberally. I took my kids out to boogie board and we had a great time. Once I got home it was apparent something was not right. My chest had begun to turn a deep shade of red. I am assuming that the boogie board took all the sun screen off and I was playing in the sun like an ant under the magnifying glass.

The burning phase was minor actually and it gave me hope that this was going to come and go fairly quick. To my dismay oh how wrong i was. I started to get a slight itch on my chest Tuesday so of course i itched it. BIG MISTAKE! The itch quickly got worse and spread to all parts of my chest. I quickly lost my mind as my body started to spasm from the uncontrollable itching.

The itching lasted for about an hour which left me in states of screaming, crying, scratching, twitching, spasming, searching the internet, punching things, flailing around like a lunatic. I swear this is the worst thing I have ever experienced.

This is now Friday and I have experience atleast 3 ITCHING ATTACKS every day since Tuesday. I actually had to take work off today because I woke up 4am this morning franticly and uncontrollably itching. This is TORTURE!

I wish I could reach a state of coma for a week just so I could let this pass!

For your amusement I will share all of my attempted remedies that still have not worked!

Aloe & Lidocaine GEL - seemed to make it worse.
Lidocaine Spray - did this do anything?
SHAVED MY CHEST!!! - to prevent my hairs from instigating it! (used electric razor im not insane! or am i? This itch is taken me there! I would cut a limb off if i knew it would help!
Pressure - eh sometimes helps a little?
Standing in show letting water run down my chest helps while its running down my chest..
Ice - seemed to make it worse
Vinager - ??? Acidic crap on my skin?
Benadryl - Well, helps me GET to sleep...

What (KIND OF) Worked?
BALMEX! - This + Lidocaine spray do not give INSTANT relief but i put them on immediately when i feel a TINY itch. I then put a not fuzzy shirt on and fold a pillow up and lay on top of it. I make sure there is alot of pressure and stay that way until i HAVE to go do something else. This is not instant but it seems to help.

This is no sure file releif though and it doesnt seem to help the way I need.. which is NOW and preventative..

I have now resorted to calling my doctor crying frantically that I need help NOW. He has prescribed me a steroid cream and antihesitamine to help. I am waiting for the pharmacy to get the script now and ANXIOUSLY waiting to go pick it up!

I am honestly terrified about this weekend and how things are going to work out. I am a scout leader and I have a camping trip with my son and the pack that I have already prepaid for.. I do not know what I am going to do if these attacks happen while I am around the rest of the pack. I literally lose control and well.. god help me.. god help you.. god help us all!

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know other people are going through this too so I'm not actually going insane. I felt like a complete psycho when I tried to go to bed tonight and the uncontrollable itch came over me. I had my fiance rub lotion and aloe vera all over my back. I started circling around our bedroom rubbing my back on towels and trying not to lose my mind. It has helped reading this blog, but the itch is slowly creeping back. It's midnight now, I hope I can get some sleep.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for all of you and your pain. As I have now too felt it for the first time that is. I thought I was going to have to go to the ER. I then thought about the story I would have to tell of going to the emergency room for a sunburn and decided I would try rubbing anything and everything in the house on my back first. I had gotten in the shower and after getting out then back in and out and back in and then finally out again my wife put vinegar, sunburn gel, hydrocortizone on it and nothing helped. Then she put the Vagisil on and after rubbing it ever so lightly in for ten minutes I have found relief. I am now a 31 year old man who just put Vagisil on my body and will be putting more on soon I'm sure. This is great but very sad at the same time.

Unknown said...

I couldn't even type before the itch was so bad. But I got around it it now. I woke up this morning very itchy and it got worse quick to the point where I was scared for my life how itchy it was. Deep under my skin and itching it only relieves it sort of as I'm itching. For hours it was horrible. I wanted someone to knock me out I was angry, scared and going inane. aloe just seemed to make it worse so I'd jump in the shower to wash it off. Like everyone saying. The shower brings you 100% relief but only while your in it. My mom got some benadryl itch cream and some sort of first aid itch spray. I decided to bear thrugh the itc of the aloe because i heard it can make ir worse but eventually it will get better. then i put on the bendryl then the spray and it got better and for about 3 or 4 hours i was almost itch free but it started to come back so i put on aloe to start the process again and as soon as i did that it was itching like crazy again. i put on the other stuff and its a bit better but still itching like crazy. I cant seem to stop it now and its ruining my day and i need it to go away because tomorrow i have finals and work and if the itch is this bad again. Theres no way ill be going any where tomorrow. I hope I can sleep. I;m pretty scared because I need to go to these finals because this is senior year. Anyway I was so thankful for those 4 hours of relief. I was hoping the itch would be done but i guess not:-(

Unknown said...

three days ago i went to Ohio for my cousins couple wedding shower and got a got burnt on my back and shoulders. the pain usually never bothers me but the itch is just INSANE. I am convinced that a i cannot control my muscle movements for they frantically lash out and i twitch. I've benedryll and aloe. yet nothing seems to work. i just started my summer vacation Friday and now i have to deal with this crap. FML

Anonymous said...

3:40 on a Tuesday morning and I haven't got a wink of sleep yet.

Fml. I hate you, sun. (Protip: I'f you're going on a 100 mile bike ride to San Francisco for 8 hours straight, wear a fucking shirt.)

Not-So-Itching-Lunatic-Returns said...

UPDATE: I couldn't make it camping I was too afraid of the itch returning in front of all the children and then me subjecting them to my insane howling at the moon because of the itching. Though I return with great news!

I doubt anyone will scroll down this far to read this but I hope everyone does for the cure. This will not INSTANTLY solve the itch but it help it go away and stay away.

After going to the doctor here is what they did for me and it has WORKED!

Zyrtec - Expensive but it is a 24hr Antihistamine and it does not make you drowsy like Benadryl. I bought a 5 pack and it worked out perfectly. 1x a day.

Cortisone - I got prescription strength but I am sure you can pick up the store brand cheaper and it will work as well. Cover the itching burn 2x a day.

Petroleum Jelly - Store brand, I coated my burn with Cortisone first then this. I put a nice thick layer on all over and put a wife beater on over it so my normal cloths did not stick. DO NOT WASH OFF! This stuff will actually absorb into your skin over night its amazing. This kept my skin very moist and stopped the dry itching. The one time I washed it off I broke into CRAZY itching again.. needless to say I refused to take a shower for 3 days until now.. I am cured! ( i still kept hygiene up though!! :) )

Use this combination and I promise you will regain sanity!

Anonymous said...

i put some aloe vera on and then just sprayed some viniger on it.

Rebecca said...

Oh this blog saved my life! I am so thankful for all of the help and sympathy on here! I mistakenly thought....oh! I'll just jump in a long cool shower to get the itch off (I thought it was a reaction to the Banana Boat Aloe Mist spray). BAD IDEA. After reading theses I went back to Wal-Mart and bought 100% pure Aloe (no fragrance, no color, no alcohol) and I keep it in the fridge. It feels AMAZING to slather it all on and then put on a shirt. I also sat on my couch with ice packs on my back and that seemed to numb the itching enough for me to fall asleep last night. Whatever you do, Good Luck!!!

Ryan said...

I laid out in the sun for about 1 hr on a nice Sunday afternoon. I got a burn, it wasn't a terrible burn, mostly just on my chest and a bit on my shoulders and stomach.

About 1.5 days later...

11:30 PM - apply aloe before bed

11:31 PM - horrible itching starts. The pain brings back a flood of memories from 6 years ago when this happened the first time. I had clearly repressed this memory, for reasons obvious to the reader.

12:00 AM - frantically searching entire house for some kind of medicine. Find advil and take 2. Continue searching. Find Calamine lotion. Try putting some on but doesn't seem to do anything.

12:30 AM - Only relief found by cuddling a pillow or blanket into my chest like a 5 year old and putting pressure on it whenever I feel an itch.

1:00 AM - itching is bearable but I still want to morph into a snake and shed my immediate skin.

2:00 AM - Still can't sleep.

3:00 AM - still can't sleep

4:00 AM - 12 PM - Sleep. Wake up not itchy, praising every god I have ever heard of. Luckily I just graduated from University and have no job, so I have zero commitments today.

12:30 PM - decide to take a shower, consequently one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I apply more aloe after the shower and the itching returns 1000x worse. I yell and curse and only find relief when I retreat to the cold basement and clutch a silk pillow to my chest. Even then I am whimpering.

12:45 - Google the entire internet trying to find a cure. Find this blog. Laugh.

1:00 PM - continue drinking lots of water and taking advil as often as possible, and giving the Sun the finger.

1:00 PM - 6:00 PM - itching is bearable, apparently due to the advil. I find doing ANYTHING increases the itch - including xbox, talking, walking etc. So for this period of time I mostly lay in bed reading.

6:30 PM - itching returns extremely bad. Try putting a damp, cold cloth on chest and it works.

7:00 PM - itching returns furiously. Lay in bed, accepting my defeat and reading more blog posts. Family thinks I just have a low pain tolerance and laugh at my misfortune.

7:30 PM - start running my fingers up and down my sides, near my arm pits. This gives me goosebumps, which actually STOPS THE ITCHING. Obviously this won't work for everyone. But i suggest laying in bed, eyes closed in a cold room with shirt off, attempting to give yourself goosebumps wherever you feel itch. Getting someone to do it for you would be even better. So I sit in bed doing this until I decide to post my quasi solution to the epic sunburn itch.

11:30 PM - Will try to sleep soon, hope it is gone tomorrow. Good luck to every other sunburn itch victim out there.

Anonymous said...

omgg im going to die i have had this itching sunburn for 3 days now i have had zero sleep and im about to go insane. !!! i have tried everything. oatmeal baths. vinagar, aloe vera, everything someone please hellp me!!

Anonymous said...

Going through the itch right now...I used a heavy dose of aloe on my shoulders and have two plastic sandwich bags with ice in them. The cold feels great and stops the itch for a few minutes of much needed sanity.

Anonymous said...

You'd think that after 33 years of being pale skinned and having suffered countless burns that I would have learned to wear the highest SPF sunblock. I was burned 3 days ago and have been dealing with the pain and applying aloe and lotions. Today I took the dog for a long walk and came home very sweaty. Then the insane itching began.
I have tried almost everything suggested in this blog...I have to leave for work in 2 hours and am sitting here drinking water. I put a thick coat of aloe gel on my burn and put on a shirt. I took some pain meds. It still feels like ants are crawling all over me. I just want to cry. I'm praying for some relief to come soon.
Thank you everyone for your ideas and great suggestions. It's great to know I am not alone in this itchy hell!

Anonymous said...

I put on aloe and that only made it worse. using a towell helped only for a little while. what worked the best is sitting in the shower switching from burning hot water to freazing cold water. its the best luck ive had all day. keep burn away from air flow just lay in bed face up and dont move and you should be fine. ive considered getting in the hot tub, its soppose to remove dead skin cells if your just starting to peel. hot water will hurt a little bit but as long as you can resist the pain for a few minutes you will be fine in the long run

Anonymous said...

2 Days after my burn the itch started for me. All encompassing, horrible, debilitating, gnawing. I was at work and I left early.

Ill sum up the posts on this website and tell you what not to do.

1. Avoid taking a shower if you can help it, it reduces the oils and moisture in your skin even further.

2. Buy pure aloe lotion. Slather it whenever you get an itch. Put it in the fridge so its cold.

3. Try to avoid exercise. Sweating only makes it worse. Keep your skin cool and covered with creams.

4. Hydrocortizone works well. Put it on with aloe.

5. Drink Water. Lots.

6. Take aspirin.

7. Put a shirt on, the tighter the better.

8. Lastly and most importantly.........DON"T SCRATCH.

Anonymous said...

It's honestly amazing reading this page. I sit here trying to take my mind of this absolutely amazing frustrating that is my "sunburn itch". It is very interesting to read others situations and solutions. I am using aloe based lotion at the moment and plan on going strictly to an aloe gel tomorrow. I have walked up and down my street about 25 times to keep my mind off. I have to work 12 hrs in the morning. I can only hope for the best. Benadryl should be knocking me out right about now.


Good Luck

Anonymous said...

I came across this post last night at 11 pm after getting out of bed due to the most agonizing painful itching I have ever experienced. I had gotten a sunburn 2 days before while at a parade with my family. What followed was the usual burning pain that I am completely used to. not comfortable but with a ton of aloe perfectly bearable. The last night we were visiting my mother in law and suddenly I got a small itch in the middle of my back no big deal until I tried to scratch it...HUGE mistake!!!! That only made it a million times worse. I get home and it's itchy but not to bad around 10:45 I decide to go to bed. After 5 minutes I'm trying to claw at my back jumping in a lukewarm shower thinking it'll help...2 minutes after getting in the shower i'm getting out and running down the stairs furiosly rubbing a towel across my back trying to scratch while my brother is a)yelling at me to put some clothes on and b)looking at me like I belong in a looney bin. I then proceed to have him rub aloe on my back that made it i try ice help...then calamine lotion...even more itching...i tried ibuprofen 800 that didn't help. So i start googling to figure this crap out which is when I come across this post. Nothing ends up helping so I just keep reading which stops the itching but I couldn't stay up all night reading posts about other people that are as crazy as me(which proves i'm not just a big baby) so around 2:30 am I finally decide to take 2 soma which i have a prescription for for back pain knowing it probably won't stop the itching but will at least knock me out so I can get some stinking sleep. Needless to say I woke up this morning with no itch and now only have a slight annoying itch but nothing to unbearable. Thank god there is and end in sight

Anonymous said...

This post is full of people who understand the little piece of hell known as sunburn itch. To everyone, I feel your pain and thank you for all the comments. Among all this advice is something that will make some poor soul a little less tortured.

My personal advice:

1.) Don't shower. Period. Don't let any kind of water near your burn, it washes away your skin's oils which help retain moisture. A shower will momentarily make the itching stop, only to make it return later...worse. Its not worth it.

2.) Don't scratch/touch/move the skin the burn is on. Any kind of contact or movement of the burned skin will start an itching episode. This part is the hardest. Self control is a huge part of surviving the itching horror.

3.) Take an antihistamine such as benadryl as often as possible without exceeding the safe dosage. Sunburns damage mast cells in the skin which release histamine along with other agents which cause itching.

4.) Drink as much water as you can stand.

5.) Wear something over the burned skin to protect it from the air. A simple, comfortable t-shirt can work wonders.

6.) Find a topical agent that works for you. Something that gives moisture back to your skin and helps heal it. Nothing scented and nothing with alcohol, the more natural the better. My personal rub is a mix of aveeno oatmeal lotion, 100% aloe (make sure there is NO ALCOHOL in the aloe you use), and hydrocortisone cream. Be advised that applying anything to the burn will make it itch horribly at first because you have touched it. Just try to let the topical agent settle and in about 15 minutes it will feel better.

7.) TRY EVERYTHING! Everyone is different. Just because it worked for one person doesn't mean it will work for another and vice versa. Take all the advice of this post and find what works best for you.

8.) Don't expect miracles. Look for minor relief that allows you to actually go about your day. The itching will be constant for many days after it starts. Anywhere from 3 to 7 days (maybe more) depending on the severity of the burn.

My advice may not help everyone, but if one person gets relief from the nightmare then I will be satisfied. GOD be with you all my itchy siblings.

free-business-cards said...

OMFG. This is the worst ever. I seriously wanted to die. Nothing seemed to stop it except a shower. I tried all of the above following advise above with what ever I had in the house. You would have thought I was a crazy person. I even tried to wrap myself in saran wrap because someone suggested it in the comments above. Here is what helped me out some and I thought I would share in case anyone else may not find the following above advise to work. The whole idea is to keep the skin from drying out more cause I think that is what causes the itching. DON'T USE ANYTHING THAT WILL DRY OUT YOUR SKIN MORE. NO ALCOHOL BASED PRODUCTS. It only makes it worse. Pure Aloe base products only seemed to make it 10 times worse as well. I took a shower which eases the itch for a little but then right after the shower I put a heavy coat of Petroleum Jelly all over the area that itches. I then took some meds to help knock me out. and drank as much fluids as possible. I would suggest taking anything that makes you super sleepy. For me this is benadryl. This slowly took it away. This is not an instant cure and as far as I know there is none. So far this morning I have some itches here and there. I have not itched them in fear of a break out again. I hope that this doesn't come back. If you are reading this because you itch insanely bad then I feel your pain. Good luck you are seriously going to need it.

Unknown said...

It's been years since I've sustained a bad sunburn. Three days ago my girfriend and I were at the beach on a pretty foggy day. The sun was still blazing through the fog enough to give me a pretty severe sunburn on the front of my body. All was good until day three when I began to itch uncontrolably. THE CURE IS DIRECT PRESSURE!!! I used a wet facecloth on my very itchy belly then folded a towel lenthwise and wrapped it around my belly and pulled it tight. That relieved about 95% of the itch. After about half an hour I was good to take the towel off and relax for the night. Keeping still also helps. The more you move the more you itch.

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier and just wanted to say that the itching attacks lasted about 16 hours. No one posted on here about how long the itching lasts so I wanted other people suffering to know what to kind of expect. I found that laying in a medium temp bath tub with Aveeno oatmeal body soak for about 20 minutes helped a ton and didn't dry my skin out. Just know that it will past even though you think you're about to go insane.

rob said...

i have never heard of sunburn itching before and all i have to say that once you get it, you NEVER wanna get it again because it is sooo unbearable. if anyone says your acting ridiculous they have no clue what there saying because thats how bad the itching is. it started for me 2 days after i got badly burnt on my chest and shoulders. but if you are here like myself trying to figure out what to do i have survived it and here was my survival guide on it :)

1. when the itching starts do not put anything on your burn for that time because it will only make it even worse and DO NOT itch it because you will be sorry.
2. DRINK A TONNNNNN OF WATERRRRRRR---1-2 gallons a day..
3. DO NOT shower for a day because u will feel relief while you are in the shower but you will be sorry when you get out. it dries you out even more which is why your skin is itchy this bad to begin with.
4. put ice directly on the part where the almighty itch is coming from to get some sleep. take about 2 benadryl and 2 tylenol every 4-6 hours to try and put u out of your misery.
5. wear a shirt, a tank top or a cotton shirt so when the itch attack comes u can press the shirt into the itch to stop the itching but DO NOT scratch
6. i noticed that putting anything on it all irritated it more and i did not put anything on my itching area for 24 hours
7. take fish oil, vitamin A, D, E (multivitamins) eat avocadoes. and i did use 2 different moisturizing lotions that were EXCELLENT for this(after 24 hours). one of them was CUREL Continuous Comfort and the other was Colloidal Oatmeal lotion for dry,itchy, and irritated, sensitive skin. they worked wonders because they are scentless and moisturized amazingly.
8. on the second day the itching subsided a little and after 36 hours I worked out like a complete maniac and was sweating beyond belief. i worked out for 3 hours straight with a half hour break in between. the itching was killed immediately from my sweat moisturizing my body. if you are gonna go with this workout method MAKE sure u sweat your ass off.
9. after the workout, take a cool shower use a little bit of soap, if your skin starts to blister, GOOD! let it! means your body is getting the water to fight it. do not pop them let them be.
10. the itching will last 3-4 days and im sorry to say it but theres honestly nothing u can do about it besides fight it. there is no cure for it but it is ABSOLUTELY terrible and my heart goes out to you. i hope this helps some people because i know how it feels and i wouldnt wish this on anyone. also if this has happened to you, do not go in the sun for atleast a week by that time it should be fully healed and u must wear sunblock because this type of burn will happen again and again. good luck guys..fight the itch!

Unknown said...

just put a shirt on it works better than aloe and viniger n all that other shit oh yeah drink water

Anonymous said...

Here i am, victorious and feeling much better after 4 hours straight of the itch. ive had it three times in my life, but this was the first time id gotten over so quickly. its still not completely gone, but it is nothing close to what i was feeling last night. in my opinion its like getting stung by a bee or even a wasp at some points all over your burned area, and even in places you thought werent even burned too bad. To my knowledge, doctors cant do anything about, there is no cure. I still cant grasp that thought of how mankind can do all these things but struggle getting rid of this monster that torments us. but i will tell you what worked for me.

i am in my 2nd day of the burn, and after reading all the other blogs it seems as though either the second or the third day is "the monsters" DAY OF VENGANCE!! at about 1130 last night i was brushing my teeth and then i hopped into bed. i didnt get a shower because i take those before i go to work in the mornings, i had been fine all day since my shower. then out of nowhere this sharp sting popped up on my chest. my first instinct is to rub the area of the sting, and what ensued is the single most horrible expeirence in my life. 4non straight hours of pure torture and insanity. However, i have no idea how i had gotten over it so quickly, in the past it took 10 to 16 hours to completely get rid of the itch.

What i found to be the quickest way to detain the demon, is by reading all the way through this blog while not taking any advice whatsoever (maybe because i had no ointments or pills) except to drink some water and laying on your chest ,if you can, with your hand between your chest and the bed or floor. before laying down make sure you have a blanket in your compressed hand, it seemed to help. then use your other hand to scroll down through the blog. within maybe 45 minutes, i was asleep, could not stay awake. while i was reading the blog and with my blanket wrapped around me and compressed on my chess i felt no itch.

this morning i feel much better, however still hesitant to take a shower even though i have work in about 2 hours. maybe it will be completely better by tomorrow. the fear of the return of the DEVIL SPAWN ITCH, is very overpowering. i still hesitate before i rub my skin with the fear that it will summon forth the great itchy plague.

good luck everyone, i know your pain and am so happy i found this blog. i always thought i was the only one in the world to endure this and thought maybe i was just weak. but now i dont believe anyone could go through this and not shed atleast 1 tear. it is truly a terrible thing to endure. but thank to the heavans its not permanant, if that was the case, go ahead and just blow my head off, life just isnt worth it to know you have to endure the 1000 stings of fury of the sun for the rest of your life. It seems that its the closest thing to hell's eternal burning fires that man has discovered here on earth.

Anonymous said...

AHHHH i think I might just self destruct soon. I'm a 16 year old girl and I've lived in Florida my whole life ( you know the sunshine state?) any ways school just let out and on the last (very overcast cloudy rainy day) me and my friends went swimming, got a slight sun burn, no problem been throgh them more than ever, living in Florida and all. No. Two days later I'm in excruciating pain and it feels like there's abunch of little chinese men with hair thin needles running around stabbing me where I got burnt (shoulders amd chest) I tried showering. DON'T DO IT. It dries you out and you'll hate yourself. I even started slmming myself against the shower wall. Then I punched myself because I thought god hated me. Oh btw DONT scratch it either. It will just get irritated. I came out of the bathroom sobbing. Crying actually helps. But my dad sprayed this sunburn stuff on me in the process of me crying and I almost passed out from inhaleing it. Bad idea it made it worse. I grabbed banana boat aloe after sun lotion and layered myself in it. Helps in the process but the itch still lingers nothing like before though, because now I don't think I'm going tho kill myself. I've never had a sun burn like this and don't plan on one ever again. Need more lotion now. See ya.

Anonymous said...

Well Ive had the sunburn for about 3 days now. Ive googled up some stuff about my burn and its a 2nd degree sunburn, meaning red skin and water blisters. so its hard to lay down in my own bed without feeling the blisters being pushed on. Earlier today i started feeling some itches on my chest, and over the last few hours its gotten progressively worse. Waiting until my parents wake up so i can take a cold shower without waking them up and getting mad. The itch has moved to my chest, back, sides, arms, but its not unbearable yet. But im looking at a looooooooong unbearable day ahead of me. But when it itches what helps me is to think that the itch means my sunburn is healing. Ive had this feeling before and wanted to shoot myself, so here we go again. Wish me the best of luck guys?

Anonymous said...

Heres some advice i found from Wikianswers: hope it helps :)

When the itching starts "DO NOT SCRATCH" scratching makes it worse. Take your maximum dose of Ibuprofen or Tylenol and maximum dose of Antihistamine Capsules. Take a warm shower, do not rub skin with towel "pat dry", then liberally apply Caladryl Lotion, while the Caladryl lotion is still wet apply a "medicated" body powder like Gold Bond. This will create a warm then cooling sensation for about 10 - 20 minutes and dampen the itching for hours. Repeat as needed. Good Luck!

Derek said...

The itching started around lunch time today (Tuesday) for me after being in the sun on Sunday afternoon.

I've never actually had sun burn before (I'm in my mid 20s) and so I had no idea that such itching would come out of nowhere in an apparent attempt to ruin me!

Showering helped temporarily, but the itching came back directly after. After sun lotion and Aloe Vera didn't help either, and, in the case of the former, actually made it worse.

The only things that have worked for me are vinegar and painkillers, both bringing about temporary relief.

I'm planning to continue taking those and combine them with an anti-histamine so that I can sleep.

I'm rather busy this week, so I'm not looking forward to tomorrow and I'm truly concerned as to how long this bloody itching will be with me.

It seems that combining temporary relief (of sorts) with the words of fellow sufferers is the only sure fire way of getting through it.

I'll certainly never let this happen again!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend went with some other staff members at a youth group home to take the kids to myrtle beach for vacation. He got a terrible sunburn and the night before he had to get up at 6am and drive 12 hours back he calls me at 2:30am almost crying because of the unbearable itch. He tried to take a shower but that only made it worse. He ran out of aloe vera and lotion because he used so much of them. I tried to tell him not to itch it, but that made him angry because I didn't know what it was like (be prepared for this response if you are trying to help someone else in this condition). Finally he put on his Tiger Balm and put his shirt on and that seemed to help a little. That and drinking water. Reading these comments to him also helped him relax a little.

Derek said...

An update!

It's now Wednesday evening (I burned myself Sunday afternoon and the itching started on Tuesday) and the most series itching has now subsided, now it's just a tiny irritant akin to dry skin.

Vinegar worked well for me but the greatest relief game from gel has anti-histamine properties. After application it stopped the unbearable itch in about 20 minutes and continued for a good 4-5 hours.

The itch does pass! I wasn't willing to believe that yesterday!

Good luck folks!

Unknown said...

This web site has saved a nine year old from his parents thinking he was being over dramatic. Thank you. He has been given bynadryl, and is now asleep. And we know what to try tomorrow if the itch starts again. Thank you for all the suggestions. I have another and if we use it I will post again to let you all know if it works. Ammonia. My mom has used this on her really bad mosquito bites, and it is the main ingredient in "AfterBite". Also, did you all know that the homeopathic remedy for jellyfish stings is to pee on it? Well, pee is ammonia we'll see if ammonia, in very small amounts works.
Again, this site is wonderful. Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

phew! it's been an extremely long night. this makes day 3 of my sunburn & day one of "the itch". i am an extremely fair & freckly girl & i have been burnt countless times. but, i have never experienced "the itch". i am so thankful i found this blog, because i was seriously beginning to think i was having an allergic reaction to all the things i was putting on my back. Ibouprofen, generic solarcaine spray, drinking lots of water & pressure seemed to work in my case. i'm at work & i did wash part of my arm because the above was not working. the washing helped & the itching has not returned in that area. the itching is creeping back on my back & its exactly where my bra rubs! its agony!! the things that absolutely did not work are: neosporin, 4-5 different kinds of lotions (grade seed extract lotion, gold bond, eucerin, rose water & glycerin), insect sting ointment and rubbing alcohol(bad idea). when i get off work, i will be taking a bath. i know everyone says the itch returns, but if the bath gives me some relief, then at this point, it seems worth it. oh, one other thing. i have been using sarna for the burn, it works great, so we shall see how it helps "the itch". i hope to post back on how long "the itch" lasts, because only one person wrote how long, 16 hours. good luck to all, we need it.

Anonymous said...

AAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH im itching like hell right now and want to kill myself. i tried everything already, vinegar, lotion, ice, etc. so i ran my ass to the store and bought a $10 BOTTLE of aloe vera. forgot the brand but its green, =]. this helped a little if you apply and sit in front of a fan. it doesnt stop itch completely but it calms it down..................................................30 min in and im still itchin !!!! HELP !

Anonymous said...

ahhhhhhhh calamine feels good omg i was in the just shoot me phase now i am back in buiseness

Anonymous said...

I got a hell-burn in Cancun a month ago. I burned, blistered and my entire torso peeled. I thought I was healed, but 1 week ago (3 weeks after the burn) this hell itch showed up. It seems fond of arriving at midnight when I am trying to sleep.

Lotions do very little for me. I drink water like a camel anyway, so that doesn't make much difference. I usually rub icepacks on my shoulders to numb them, and hope that in combination with my overtiredness I will fall asleep. I am glad I am not insane, no-one outside this forum seems to understand the intensity of the pain and itching.

I have read on a different forum, many recommendations for a warm shower, so I will brave it this morning and record the result.

Beating myself senseless seems to be the only other option. I have to admit, I have laughed pretty hard at some of the posts here, probably I am now sadistic from the pain, itching and lack of sleep. But to everyone on this forum I feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

Try vicks vapor rub. It makes your burn stop and itching go away immediately. It also makes you very cold. I have been using for years and I promise you nothing is better.

Anonymous said...

Yeah this itch is insane.... I've never felt something so bad before, it is sharp pain and then a not so bad pain then refollowed by a sharp pain again... It's extremly repetive and annyoing, I almost considered knocking myself out... Once you itch you feel it else where, where it wasnt so strong... Omg, it's bad. I feel bad for anyone who has to suffer this.

Anonymous said...

Only cure I wife has the gun and I am begging her to kill me....just kidding. Actually i put on cortizone 10 with aloe vera in it, put on my shirt, sat back in my chair really still and read this whole thing..feeling ok now.

Anonymous said...

It seem like the crazy thing to do, but it worked 100% PAIN RELIEF! I was about day 3 into my ridiculous sunburn and was about to try and go to bed. I made the mistake of taking a shower to try and cool myself down. It immediately started to itch up a storm. I had experience with poison ivy before so i had pretty good control over not itching myself. But it got increasingly worse and i began to itch and scrape and try everything. I had no lotion or aloe so i turned to the internet to try and find a solution. I found this blog and began to read. At this point i was almost to tears due to the pain, and i got so angry that i literally punched a whole in my clothes dresser. So i continued to read and based on some of the suggestions i came up with my own theory: reverse psychology. I thought of the most backwards thing i could think of and went looking for my skintight underarmour longsleeve heatgear. How i got it on i have no idea. After that i proceeded to take 1 tylenol pm, lay on my bed as still as possible, and within 15 min i was out like a light. When i woke up in the morning i took off the underarmour, put on a normal shirt, and went about my day pain free! hopefully this doesnt backfire on someone who tries it. All i know is, it worked for me. Im a 22 yr old 210lb male athlete, so if this pain could bring me to tears, its really brutal believe me.

Anonymous said...

Reading about others pain with the hell itch has made me feel a little better. Im in my second day after getting the burn, and it first started itching after taking a shower. A few hours ago I put on Banana Boat Aloe After Sun and that made me go insane. I tried vinager which minorly helped but it still came back really badly. I just drank 5 huge cups of water, put on a shirt, popped 2 tylanol and ate some cheez its and the itch is finally becoming bearable.

Anonymous said...

oh man, i finally found someone that has endured the same thing as me, the only one who believes me is my dad that has also gone through this agony. i hardly ever take my shirt off and i went to a water park about a year ago and got sunburned bad, my shoulders started to blister and thats when it happend, all of a sudden just itching everywhere on my body even places i wasnt burnt, i jumped into the tub freaking out, my mom was non stop putting alo on my back but nothing was helping, i sat in the tub for 2 hours straight i was literally ready to run into a wall and knock myself out. i did not find any cure just to wait it out and i swore to myself i would never get that again, but iwas at the beach 2 days ago and got pretty bad sunburned my shoulders are starting to blister like before, and my back is starting to itch pretty bad no where near going insane but its bad, and im just praying and praying it wont get bad

Anonymous said...

i had this same thing happen to me. and it happened totally randomly. i got so desperate i started spraying my stomach with hairspray! this article saved my life.

Anonymous said...

the second i got out of the shower the itching started. i found 5 funny white dots on my chest and they seemed to be a result of my sunburn. i found this strange because i had never heard of this before. it is truly unbearable. i went through a whole 16oz. bag of sunflower seeds in one hour. this always helps me with problems, but the itches ceased not. the only relief i found was calamine lotion. the stuff is lifesaving.

thank you so much for this post; i appreciated it very much, thanks to all who left their comments,

yours truly,
Mr. Itchy

Anonymous said...

I JUST HAD THE SAME PROBLEM LAST NIGHT! it was unbearable. I feel your pain. This is how I cured my itch within 45 minutes:

(after i made the dumbass decision of standing in a cold shower for 30 minutes waiting for my friend to bring me aloe gel and solarcaine spray)

1.) solarcaine that shit up! spray it like theres no tomorrow cover yourself!!

2) take the aloe and coat yourself in it until you really feel a thick layer of aloe between your hand and your skin.


3) take 1000mg ibuprofen

4) smoke that kush. at least .4g

5) turn on espn and forget about everything

the itch will go away, you should probably smoke yourself to sleep for the best results.

Anonymous said...

I JUST HAD THE SAME PROBLEM LAST NIGHT! it was unbearable. I feel your pain. This is how I cured my itch within 45 minutes:

(after i made the dumbass decision of standing in a cold shower for 30 minutes waiting for my friend to bring me aloe gel and solarcaine spray)

1.) solarcaine that shit up! spray it like theres no tomorrow cover yourself!!

2) take the aloe and coat yourself in it until you really feel a thick layer of aloe between your hand and your skin.


3) take 1000mg ibuprofen

4) smoke that kush. at least .4g

5) turn on espn and forget about everything

the itch will go away, you should probably smoke yourself to sleep for the best results.

Anonymous said...

I once experinced this on a road trip with my immediate family. That may have been the closest to experiencing hell on earth that I've ever been. I even locked the door I was sitting next to because I was worried that I would decide to jump out into the freeway in order to end it. It was just about that bad. Two things made it bad. First, there was almost nothing that would bring about the slightest relief without making it flare up even worse. Second, everyone around keeps telling you "It's only a sunburn," and "look who's so tough now." I've been burnt worse than this a thousand times before, but I've never had this experience. I'll give myself a couple of years to recover my sanity and dignity.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I wish I could smoke myself to sleep, alas I haven't done that in years...I'm 43 and had many a sunburn but NEVER this horrible tortureous itch from hell. I thought I was going insane and imagined that this is what it would feel like to be tortured until you lose your mind. My husband and teenage son thought I was just being dramatic. Here is what helped...a thick coat of Eucerin cream, then put on Caldryl Clear lotion, then top it with Gold Bond powder. I saw the Calydryl lotion with Gold Bond powder topping on another blog when I finally made it home without wrecking my car while I scratching my back with a plastic spoon I happened to have in my car. It worked, it took about 15 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Going through hell right,,,itching so bad I can hardly stand it,,,I seriously just told my wife I"m going to the ER if it doesn't stop. Did not sleep at all last night,,,all lotions, aloe vera, etc, just made it worse. I"m going to self medicate with alot of wine and some bendryl. Pray for me!

Anonymous said...

I just received what the doctor tells me is a third degree burn. I got it Monday, and just yesterday was when the horrible itching started. I have blistered sores and cuts all on my back, plus an abnormally high level of dead skin layering off. I cannot move my back without experiencing an intolerable amount of pain, so I've been sitting here in the same position (back completely straight) for the past three hours. I've found what triggers the itching the most for me- the aloe. My mother has an actual aloe plant and breaks off the leaves and rubs it onto my back. This tightens my skin and leaves it itching and burning, but this I've come to realize are just the side effects of an intensive healing progress. I'm fifteen and this has happened to me three other times- you think I'd learn my lesson. Well, hopefully once this subsides I'll be more aware!

Unknown said...

My father, my brothers and I have all experienced exactly what you are describing. Until someone experiences this it is really hard to understand the intensity and the lack of treatment available. I searched this out on the internet to offer help to those experiencing it as well.

After literally spending days in cold showers and anguishing hours....we found a solution. PEPPERMINT OIL. NOT Peppermint extract, PURE PEPPERMINT OIL. You can find it at health food and natural food stores. Some knowing pharmacists will carry it. Apply directly to the burn. Your hands or the hands of whoever applies it will feel quite cool for hours or days after because of the effect of the oil, but it is not painful at all (just don't touch your eyes, mouth or nose. It smells like a candy cane factory for a few days....which after finally getting relief from this awful experience, will become the best smell in the world.

It seems to work by opening the pores and releasing the heat held deep in the nerves.

Peppermint oil is pretty strong to apply directly to the skin but it generally only requires one thorough application all over the affected area. This DOES work. This is the only thing that really works for this. It is really quite amazing how well it works too considering how nothing else touches it.

What DOES NOT WORK.... ANY Kind of lotion or gel or cream makes it worse.

This holds the heat, which is already being held in, and is continuing it's burn at the nerve level. Avoid any chlorinated or treated water (especially hot tubs... though the pressure of the jets can divert temporarily just like cold shower spray, it is only temporary and can make it worse).

Just so you know, like you, we always experience this at least one to two days AFTER the initial sun burn. We are not sure why we experience this and so many others do not but we highly recommend that you never repeat this kind of sun exposure. It will reoccur. Keep a fresh bottle of peppermint oil on hand just in case and if you ever meet anyone else who has gone through this pass on the word.

lbrew said...

Day 4 after massive burn due to falling asleep in sun. I couldn't bring myself to post to this thread during the kill-myself-itch phase, which started 2 days after the burn. Suffice it to say that I would have chosen torture over the unstoppable agony that kept me sleepless for the following 2 nights. By the 3rd night in a whiskey-induced haze I randomly discovered a miracle combination that alleviated the horrifying burn/itch on my chest and stomach. Two Advil PM, an aloe/cortisone cream mix slathered on burned areas, and - the key here - a cold compress. I used one of those frozen blocks for coolers, wrapped it up in a dish towel and clutched it to my chest or wherever the itch had moved at the time. The pain stopped instantly and I fell into deep, amazing sleep. When it warmed up or I woke up, I just switched it out for another cold one stashed in the freezer, took 2 regular Advil, and immediately, mercifully went back to sleep.

What DIDN'T work for me: Benadryl - this did nothing except dehydrate me even more, aloe by itself - just made clothing and sheets stick to miserable skin, vinegar - obviously it's good for some of you but in my case it STUNG and dried out skin, Gold Bond powder - again, stinging and drying ensued.

It has been a hellish 4 days, but I hope I'm out of the woods and maybe the combo that worked for me can help some of you out, too. I feel your pain!!

Anonymous said...

I SYMPOTHISE WITH EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU THAT HAS GONE THROUGH THIS UNSPEAKABLE HORROR!!!! im dealing with it right now and absolutely nothing, and io mean NOTHING is helping me. dont let me discourage anyone from trying these remedys tho! my body is really stubborn. i am tho, extremely emotionaly relieved to find that this is a very common problem with sunburns and im not a freak of nature. while i was in the fridged shower, sobbing, i was ready to get out and fly to the er to see if there was anything they could do. i obviously changed my mind. im hoping that when i wake up this will be gone. even if the itching gets 10% cut off, that would be amazing! sadly my mother in laws itching pills and ambien are doing nothing. good luck to anyone else looking for relief!!!

Courtney said...

I called my boyfriend crying and he tried to distract me and make fun of me- but it's true. Nobody can understand this until they go through it, and nobody should ever have to. I woke up at 5:30 AM, pain but no itching. Went back to sleep. Woke up at 7:30 with horrible itches. Googled every possible cure, decided to try a bath. Took a cold bath, great relief during, HORRIBLE 20X WORSE ITCHING AFTER. In a fit I ran into my room and slathered Panama Jack Aloe Vera After Sun Burn Relief. DO NOT USE IT, ESPECIALLY AFTER A SHOWER. IT HAS ALCOHOL IN IT WHICH WILL DRY OUT YOUR SKIN WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF THE ITCH IN THE FIRST PLACE. I was punching the floor, rolling around with a blanket wrapped tightly around me. I patted the aloe vera off of my body and found this blog. I started reading and after a while, from laughing and reading the itch somehow subsided. Popped in an ibuprofen and felt better for a few hours. Then I started making food, my friend Zac called and I was talking to him and listening to music. THE DAMNED ITCH IS BACK. I just wish that there were more posts I could find more solace and unity in... may reread as it seems that it helped me earlier by taking my mind off of it for a few hours. I've been drinking water and I hope this feels better by at the most tomorrow. Wish me luck and you will all get through this... <3

Anonymous said...

This itch is maddening...I feel like a lunatic about to lose it. Nobody who hasn't had the experience can understand how excruciating this really is. It is somewhat comforting to find out I'm not alone. Hoping to sleep tonight....

Anonymous said...

its so fucking itchy

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Holy crap, I thought that I'm really weak willed because I have seen no one except for myself to suffer from itching that badly.Reading this blog makes me feel damn good, was nearly in tears some time ago.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this sucks. The waves of unbearable itching/pain come and go nonstop. It really feels like a bad dream. To anyone out there reading this: just choose to be pale. I'm never getting burnt like this again.

Mr. Whitesmith said...

I slept on the floor last night so I could wiggle and scratch my back on the carpet. I used aloe, benadryl, an under armor shirt but nothing worked. My 3 year old just rubbed gold bond lotion on my back and the menthol is cooling but I know it's only a matter of time till It returns. How many days will this itch last? My wife got burnt but has no itch. In fact, she thinks I'm making it up! Arghhhhh...

Anonymous said...

Here's what worked for me as I still am recovering from this pain, but I feel the worst is over. Put an icepack on the infected area and leave it there for about 15 minutes or so. It made all the difference for me. I hope this works for others out there.

Anonymous said...

I feel awful for anyone getting this. The worst seems to be over, but I don't know yet. I'm a pretty tough guy but this was awful, my parents thought I was going crazy. After 30 minutes of nonstop itching, I lied down and put 3 ice packs covering my chest, and 2 covering my back with a towel covering them from bear skin. It was like heaven. USE ICE! It helps.

Anonymous said...

Day 6 of the prickly, stinging, stabbing itch from hell. My boyfriend thinks i'm ridiculous and "itching" is no big deal. The urge to stab him is almost as strong as the urge to stab myelf. I've tried showers, baths, solarcain, calamine, benadryl, aloe straight from the plan, aveeno, gold bond, eucerin, vinegar, and lots of rum applied orally. So far no relief, i'm pretty sure in another day i'll be clinically insane. It is a relief to know i'm not alone though.

Anonymous said...

nothing has worked. at least i know there are others out there. i have already yelled at my wife and made her cry. she just doesn't understand. she keeps saying "i got burnt worse than you. just go to bed". it's taking all the willpower I have not to put her to bed, permanently. at least you guys understand.

Anonymous said...

I had my first run in with this itch last night. At first, I, like others, thought it was an allergic reaction.

I stood in the shower from 5am-8am, which completely dulled the pain of the itch while I was in the shower and allowed me to go to sleep for a few hours.

I woke up today at 11am with the itch again so I took another shower and I'm dealing with it again now but I'm just gonna tough it out.

I'm just glad that mine isn't as bad as some of the others on here.

Unknown said...

I had the bad idea of taking a shower and washing myself including the burned area. The only thing that stopped the itch was taking a bath with epson salt (no to hot the water). I hope this help someone.

Anonymous said...

i went to the beach on wednesday and today is friday

i got burned really baddly even though i wore SPF 30 sunblock and reapplied like every 45 minutes

today the itch started

my mom noticed that i was starting to get a bit of green slime buildup on my back and chest where id been slathering myself with solarcaine and aloe

she told me to go in the shower and rince the crap off

as soon as i stepped out of the shower i knew something was wrong

my chest was itching more then i knew was humanly possible

like i totally snapped my arm without even wincing and this Itch Which Even Satan Himself Wouldn't Punish People With had me bawlin like a baby

so i tried more solarcaine and aloe

the solarcaine did nothing to help the itch and the aloe worked pretty well.


then it started burning like hell

so my mom grabbed some lotion and put some on my back

this was an instant and complete utter mistake as i felt like i would literally rip my own skin off

so i rinsed that off

went on the internet and looked for solutions

someone said to take antihistamines which i did

these didnt do a whole heck of a lot for the itch but they helped and every little bit is a godsend with this itch

then i saw someone who said vinegar

i tried it and threw a shirt on and almost instant success, sure i still wanted to rub my chest a bit but then i stumbled onto this page

i started reading all the posts and now, after only 2 and 1/2 of the longest hours in my life im totally over the itch

im having tiny twinges of itchiness every once in a while but its basically all good

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for letting me know Im not crazy, I have yet to find anything that works, so Im of no use to anyone looking for help. But reading all these post has helped

Anonymous said...

I got slightly burnt on my shoulders and top portion of my arms on Sunday, last night the itch started and I became a itching lunatic!!! Before I found this site I took a shower which as I have read was the BIGGEST mistake! I tried gold bond and that did nothing, I was pacing and very irratible. I finally got someone to go and get something from the pharmacy, Lanicaine cream and spray, tried it and also took some ibuprofin, later I smeared vasiline all over and I was able to sleep, now today (Wednesday) the itch has returned, just reapplied and waiting for the relief to come. Drinking water helps I think. I just hopes this ends soon!!!

Anonymous said...

i am on vacation this week at the lake with my grandparents. I got a little sunburn two days ago. It was nothing extreme, just red and it was irritating to touch. I've had sunburn several times in my life and have never had this problem. But last night at about 12:30am i itched a small spot on my lower back and then all hell broke loose. I was up all night trying to deal with the itch. I wanted so bad to cut my skin off. Its 12:00pm now and its still bad. I took two aspirin, and covered the entire area with sunburn relief/mosturizing cream. It hasnt really helped much. The best thing to do is lay down on the unafflicted side and count up from one to one million without moving your body. The itch will stop if you dont move. Im still in agony. Hopefully this ends soon.

Anonymous said...

what is important to understand is that the iching is a symptom of the overall healing process. In other words, the ich is a good thing. Use products like solarcaine that contain lidocaine. This will help heal the sunburn. Dont focus on stoping the ich, focus on healing. That is what will ultimately help you.

Anonymous said...

I had this for the second time a few days ago, not as bad as the firs time.
Tried the peppermint oil mentioned above(I think same poster on another forum). My itching was slowing down but the oil did help!

GNC - $6-7

It give you a cool/burning type feeling. I think the itching is deep and is caused by the dead skin separating from the live skin, even though you won't actually peel for a few more days...

Anonymous said...

I just finished suffering from this agonizing itch, but not a single cream in my medicine cabinent helped cure it. I just had to wait it out. But luckily, it didn't last for more than an hour.
And if your husbands, wives, partners, roomates, or friends have been watching you lose your sanity over what they claim "just a stupid itch", make sure you show this blog to them, before they call a psychologist.

RS said...

I got burned Sunday but I don't think it was really bad. Just like everyone else, everything was just fine until I took a shower. I started to lose my mind for a few hours, then slathered aloe gel on coat after coat and now it's been about an hour since an attack. I'm afraid to move much. Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones?

Rob S said...

Looks like I am one of the lucky ones. The severe itch never came back. I've had minor itches since then and refuse to shower for a few more days but so far so good!!!

Anonymous said...

Trust me I was home on leave when it struck, do NOT put lotion on it! It will make it worst!! The best remedy is to take a warm show an let it run on your burn, after it feels like the itch is subsiding get out and lay your back fully on a leather couch or leather pillow, may as well call in sick, this itch lasted 7 hrs for me..... The leather helped sooo much during the I'm-gunna-kill-myself phase! On top of it all I had bloody knuckles from
Punching the wall.......good luck!

Anonymous said...

It seems that the only way to cut out the itching, is to cut out the thoughts. I have had it for a little over two hours on my chest. The first few minutes i thought it was a normal random itch, so i scratched it, but after ten minutes i knew that this was something different, and it had to do with the sunburn that i got two days ago. I searched frantically on the internet trying to find what could be the thing that would stop this torture. I found lots of stuff, but nothing would seem to help! Ice only helped while you were doing it. Lotions made it worse. Didnt even think about taking a shower. Drinking water helps.. ALOT! So drink up. It is acually good that we have this experience people, because your body is just warning you that you have absorbed exessive UV rays.

PS. it would be a good idea to put on sunlotion next time you go to swim.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm X's revenge... haha, whities!

Anonymous said...

I started itching yesterday at about 4 pm. At first I thought it was just a result of some lotion that my girlfriend had given me, so I hopped in the shower. As others have already noted... this is a huge mistake. Its now morning and I have been up all night.

The biggest thing I can say is don't itch it. Don't touch it at all if you can help it. Putting Aloe Vera on it may help, but this is only a temporary relief. Putting a shirt on didnt help me, and the baking soda suggestions made it much worse.

If you can help it, just dont touch it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just reading all these stories makes me feel at least slightly better. This is my second experience with the insanity-provoking itch. You'd think I would learn after the first time. What has worked for me is this. Get some Gold Bond cream and rub it all over the burn. This will cause a fresh wave of itching (I was twitching and jerking while putting it on) but in about 10-15 minutes sweet relief will begin to set in. This won't cure it for good though. Get a big bottle of 100% Aloe Vera and just paste it on as thick as possible about every 30 minutes. It itches like crazy every time but eventually after several of these it will start to go away. DON'T SCRATCH IT!!! I had to sit on my hands to keep myself from doing it. Benedryl does seem to help a bit too. Honestly, this may be the best form of torture out there...

Anonymous said...

A couple of days ago i got a really nice burn on my stomach, chest and upper arms. I am in the serious itch phase right now but it has subsided for the moment. If my neighbor saw me running around the house with rx cream, and wet towels trying to get the itch to stop they probably thought I was crazy. I honestly believe that if you absolutely feel you need to scratch to use a wet towel. The coolness will help and then you can itch without making your skin get all broke up. I am about to go take some advil though to see if that will help me get to sleep so i can try to get through it.

Unknown said...

wow i felt alone with this itch until i read this blog i feel better knowing i am not the only one. i got burned on saturday and on monday the ITCH had made its mark. it was the most hellish itch i have ever had and seriously this should be used as a torture tactic on terrorists. it would make them speak for sure. but like most of you said i tried beneadryol, cortizone, and all that stuff.... it wasnt until i had a fit of rage punched my door and drove to the store and asked for help that they pointed to solorcaine and man that stuff did the trick instantly. so i took a luke warm shower and sprayed the solorcaine on the affected spots and it did the trick now today i didnt take a shower and no itch i am letting my body build up its greasy layer first......thanks people for the hours of reading and helping me with this god awful itch

Anonymous said...

Don't scratch; it only makes it worse!!

Not having any kind of creams or gels at home I decided to try ice which I also use as soon as I get insect bites (the itch goes away immediately)

Wrap up some ice cubes in a towel and hold it on your burns

It may only stop the itching temporarily but it helps a lot!

Also drink lots of water to rehydrate your skin and allow it to heal!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you all, at least now I know I am normal (within reason).

I actually didn't have a one-time severe burn but got burned incrementally over two weeks walking the dog on the beach, mainly on my forearms. Sort of like a slow roast - doesn't look cajun on the surface but is well done all the way through. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we're not exactly known for massive UV radiation hazards.

The itch has now persisted for a week and it gets better and worse in waves. No peeling or flaking, just a little light reddishness. And the itch. Lots of it. My skin is sticky from all the creme I put on it, and yet, the itch is unaffected. I will try marijuana next. I hear it has soothing properties.

Unknown said...

I actually don't have a visible burn at all; my skin looks smooth and the regular color. However, since being out in the sun (with 50SPF sunscreen!) for an afternoon at the beach I am just DYING with this ridiculous itch. It can't be the sand because the itch is localized to my back. I am wetting a cloth and putting it in the freezer to try to calm the skin down, but I keep waking up several times at night digging at my skin desperately. I've used up an entire tube of hydrocortisone cream and half a giant bottle of aloe vera. I'm pretty much in agony and holed up inside while the rest of my family has fun on the beach.

Not only this, but none of them believes me. I can't find relief, so I've started taking a sleeping pill just to knock me out for awhile so I can get some sleep. I'm beginning to think that this will never end!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, I am literally going insane here with frustration. Its 4.20 am and I havent been to sleep yet with this crazy itching on my back. I genuinely thought I was being a baby until I read how bad others had experienced it too. Have no Aloe here so used some cream that the pharmacist gave my husband for prickly heat (seems to have helped a little) and taken some paracaetamols. If this doesn't work, Im hitting the gin!!

Anonymous said...

Friday - Beach 1.30 to 3.30 P.M
Saturday - Red and extremely touchy
but no incurable itch. Just heat and slight pain.
Sunday 2pm - right after shower when drying, slight itch started. The more i scratch the worse it becomes. Apparently i used soap while showering and it dried the skin and caused it to be angry O.O
Right now - 16 hours after the itch, sebum is building up and the itch is slowly subsiding, but at a agonizingly slow pace. I tried only with vinegar but that only helped for perhaps 2 mins then the itching came back stronger than ever possible.

Tip: Don't shower for a day and a half i reckon

James and Hannah Hudson said...

I have pretty sensitive skin, to the point that anytime im out in the sun without SPF 50 applied every hour i get severely burned. And with that comes sunburn itch. Something that I experience EVERY Summer. My wife doesn't understand either. I have come to the point where I don't bother trying to fix it. simply avoid touching the burn at all costs, as you all know that makes it worse. sit still, take a bath in Tea bath soak. I usually sit in front of a wind machine fan, it kind of shocks the skin to kill the itch. POWER TO THE SUNBURNED!

Mitch said...

Ok guys I got a sunburn on my back3 days ago. day 1 after burn it just hurt like a reg. sun burn, same with day 2. Day 3 all hell broke loose. My cure so far has been to use hydrocortzone cream all over my back and lightly run a towel over it to help stop the itch. It's the worst feeling ever.

it will dry your skin out even more and only compound the crazy itchiness. I would pay hundreds, actually thousands to get rid of this itch!!

Kevin said...

I have found the best to get rid of the dreaded sunburn itch.


2. DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT SHOWER!!!! showering will only make the itching a lot worse.

3. Distract yourself ex. read a book, watch TV, sing to music, play video games. This will help to calm you down.

4. Wear a shirt! a comfortable t shirt is OK.

distracting yourself could take a while but it works (1-2 hours)
I got rid of my itch by just reading all these comments and drinking water ( and two Advil =) )

Emily said...

God this blog has helped to distract me for the past hour or so... everyone thinks i'm going insane, but it really is the most undescribable pain even terror imaginable.
I arrived back from Corfu yesterday (Tuesday) & hadn't been in the sun since the Sunday. I was absolutely fine on Monday and also on the flight home Tuesday morning, but once I got back home and has a nice (?!) hot shower & got out - all hell broke lose.

I tried so much; 1. aloe vera,
2. calomine cream,
3. witchhazel
4. vinegar dabbing and vinegar bath
5. lying down on cool surfaces
6. lying down with cool damp teatowels on my back (the affected area)
Jesus I was ready to rip my own skin off! After trying to sleep from 10pm onwards, I finally managed to drift off at about 4am only to wake up again this morning at 6am ready to call in sick at work.

It is now 8.30pm Wednesday & the itch is no where near as intense. I personally have found that the best ways to try and tackle it is 1. using copious amounts of baby lotion
2. having extremely brief tepid baths and moisturising as soon as i came out
3. maximum doses of ibuprofen and paracetamol.

Praying this will be even slightly better by tomorrow, but thank you all of you for keeping me occupied & comforting me in that I'm not the only sufferer

Emily said...

& also another I forgot, sitting outside in the cool air with my back exposed helps quite a lot

Anonymous said...

I'm going through this for the 2nd time, though not as bad as the first since I know what NOT to do now. The best thing I have been using here in Saint Lucia is Ice Cold water - either a pool or shower - then I have my wife put lotion with aloe vera, vitamin E and other things on my back. I'm also taking Zyrtec, benedryl, and ibuprofen. This provides a little relief. I also have prescription strength hydrocortizone The back is the absolute worst place for this to happen! I can't put on lotion myself! :'( I cried and went to the emergency room the first time it happened, because I took a warm bath looking for relief.

rodentface said...


It's been 20 years since I got sunburned bad enough to blister. The pain/itching was so bad I was ready to hang myself. I wanted to die. Then my wonderful wife (praise Her!) picked up some goodies at the store. I used each product on half of my upper body as a comparison test. They both work great.

10/10 rating
~$7.00 for 10 oz.
8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate .3% in a petrolatum, lanolin base.

This is a salve developed in 1899 for livestock. Seriously. I'm not kidding. From the label: "After each milking, apply thoroughly and allow coating to remain on surface." It is, however, available at drug stores, ski resorts, and the like. Stopped the itching in 3-4 minutes. Slathered up three times a day. Awesome stuff! Itching and pain gone! At least until it dried out. Apply liberally. Think Groundskeeper Willie on the Simpsons - Grease me up, woman! Economical. 10 oz. goes a long way.

10/10 rating
~$7.00 for 2 oz.
Active ingredients:
Camphor 1.24%, aloe vera

This stuff stopped the itching within 2-3 minutes. I applied it 3 times a day. Kept my skin soaked in it. Ahhhhh - itching and pain gone! At least until it dried out. Apply liberally. Pricey for regular or full body use.

Thanks to all the tips on here. I want to iterate the fabulous advice here - keep your skin covered! It makes a HUGE difference! If you use the products above they'll get your shirt or clothes slimy, but it washes right out. Also, no towels! Air dry or pat dry if you must! No scratching! No abrasion of any kind! Cool showers, not hot!


Anonymous said...

I too suffer from the intense itch brought on by healing sunburn. The sensation comes in waves and is so intense and uncomfortable that it causes me to convulse and fall if standing.

The following information may help someone else with this itch:

1) Don't scratch. Any kind of abrasion will make it worse.

2) No showers. Soap and water will make it worse.

3) Plan on not sleeping.

4) Most creams and moisturizers make it worse. 100% aloe may help heal the skin but does nothing to relieve the itch.

5) It does end. For me the itch only lasted 48 hours. The first 18 hours were the worst. After the 18 hour mark the itch simply became very uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

I just went through this today. You don't know what it's like until you do it.

My sunburn wasn't that bad, so my itching thing "only" (I say only because it felt like forever) lasted two hours.

Borderline insanity will set in. You can't think your way out of this, all you can do is try to think "This will end." as often as possible. In the moment you want to cry, swear, and beg and you can't think away the itch.

It started with my chest itching, and then it moved all over my upper body and into parts of my back where I couldn't itch. I list the events that took place below.

1. Chest itched...then began to itch horribly.
2. Went upstairs and put on aloe gel and nothing happened.
3. Hopped in the shower at normal water temp. Water helped some of the itch. Used Dove body wash that I found to rub all over my chest. Helped the first time, but the itch continued after that.
4. Made the water cold, my chest and arms began to itch. I had to rub them NON-STOP. Couldn't scratch, it hurt. Every time I rubbed an area and left immediately the itch came right back in that spot.
5. Called my Mom at work to see what I could do. By this time I was already going crazy. She said all I could do was use aloe gel.
6. I was out of the shower now so I lathered up all of the aloe I could but was still continuously rubbing. I popped 5 ibeprofen pills. The itch went crazy in the 10 seconds I had to stop rubbing myself to pop the pills.
7. Hopped back in the shower and turned the water all the way to cold. Was rubbing anything gel-like I could find on myself. Shampoo, bodywash, aloe, moisturizer. By this time I was swearing, praying, and crying.
8. I got out and ran downstairs. I took aloe and kept loading it up on myself for fifteen minutes all the while running around my basement.
9. Went back upstairs to my bath. Filled it with cold water and laid in it. All of the itching died down except on my back. My back still killed.
10. Got out of the tub and wrapped four towels around my back. The pressure on my itching seemed to help some, so I wrapped up my whole upper body and slammed up against a wall and stood there.
11. Noticed this was kind of working so with all of my towels on I went to my bed and covered up with my comforters and laid there looking at my TV.
11. Slowly but surely the itch subsided to a not-insanity level.
12. Still slightly itchy but manageable I went around the house cleaning up all of the messes I made. My house was torn apart from my insanity rampage.
13. Got to the point where nothing was itchy. Fell asleep.
14. Woke up, was fine for an hour.
15. My chest is acting up again and I loaded up with aloe. I'm drinking as much water as I can to hydrate.

I never want to go through this again. I will ALWAYS wear sunscreen. I would have rather of been shot than have to go through what I did tonight. It was absolutely awful.

When you're in it, you're in it. Pray for the end. And try to stay sane.

Anonymous said...

It's unbearable and indescribeable to say the least.. to help relieve it I took ibuprofin, acedametaphin, and used vinegar.

For the vinegar, lie down on your floor somewhere on a towel you don't particuarly care about. Have someone else put paper towels covering your back. Then have them pour vinegar on the paper towels. Some of it will propably drip off your back which is why you use your floor and a bad towel.

Some important things to know about vinegar before you try it:

1. At first it will make the itch worse (I know you think its impossible, but trust me)

2. After a couple minutes it will go back to the agonizingly normal itch.

3. It may get only a little bit better after the first couple minutes, but the real relief doesn't come until the vinegar dries

4. It takes a while to try so in the mean time try to keep yourself busy by taking deep breaths (I know how difficult it is to do this but try). I also tapped my fingers to try to keep my mind off of it.

Also, I recommend taking something to help you get to sleep such as a muscle relaxer.

Some things I thought were interesting were that I have had several sunburns, some much worse that this one, but this is the only one that has had the unbearable itching. If anybody knows why it only occurs sometimes I would love to know.

Nicholas said...

So, i go to the water slides and I put on Sun Screen (dispite my best efforts) because my mom said that i would burn. so i applied it multiple times to avoid burning. When I get home and took off my shirt it was almost as if I was waring a pink tee shirt. My back and chest are completely burnt. Igo to sleep on the couch and it hurts like hell. And im thinking tis is going to be horrible.two days later after i think its all over and I have avoided the In-famous "Itching" stage POW

Istart iching like never before, im trying to draw or play codmw2 and i just can't consentrate so i go to lay down at 10 pm and it's now 2 am and ive read this whole forum but since im only 15 years old i have no access to any of the suggested medications or lotions


Anonymous said...

Jeff 31 Aug 2010 and the last post...but only for now as I'm sure some poor sap will be burned tomorrow and the posts will continue. Burned front and back the pain was tolerable but not the insane itching has started. Took 2 Extra Strength Excedrin to take the edge off the itch--didn't work. I thought asprin was supposed to dull the nerves--I guess mine are on fire and the sleep may never come. None of the posts helped but all good ideas that I had tried on my own but there were a few new ones. GOOD LUCK.....ALWAYS USE SUN SCREEN!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I've been twitching and crying since 10:45 PM, it's now 3:30 AM... I went to the emergency room, they gave me some benedryl and another perscription. Now i'm home again loosing all control of my body. It feels like i'm getting electricuted. There's nothing I can do to make it better. I can't sleep & i'm absolutely exhausted, this SUCKS,

Anonymous said...

Meditate dont think about your sunburn just sit completely still.

Anonymous said...

I'm 42 and I've been badly burnt before and never had the "itch". Holidays at the canary islands, close to the equator. First and second day on the beach limited time (2 h) and SPF20, third day 2 h and then later in the afternoon 4 pm a one our swim in the pool, did not reapply my SPF:(
Showered and in the evening I felt like a toast, crimson red. Pain but bearable with some pain meds and lots of lotion. So this has happened before, no worries. Stay out of the sun, lots of lotion and it will be fine. Stayed out of the sun for two days and yesterday I went for a morning swim about 1 h 15 min, had a shower and then insanity came... 42 year male close to tears...I suffer with all of you, I had no idea an itch could be so bad. Did some bad things, long swim (let's dehydrate my sunburn), showered (made it worse), after sun lotion (made it even worse to much). I overdosed on over the counter pain meds found an old body shop lotion and after two hours back to normal with some itch. Really the worst experience of my life.

Anonymous said...

I wont bore you with the details but I came here looking for answers and i have to say that putting a loose cotton T-shirt back on made a huge difference for me. It seems counter-intuitive and I have no idea why it worked but it lessened it enough that i could actually sleep. when I thought back on it I realized that the itches didn't really start until I got home and took my shirt off!

Anonymous said...

This is easily the most unbearable torture I have ever lived through. I am 16, just went to the keys for the weekend, and got a little burn on my back. Nothing major. I just woke up at 11:22 am with this itch. I tried to sleep, and thought that maybe it was caused by my sweat during the day. I hopped into the shower for some relief. It was fine in the shower, but when I got out, the itch returned. It's been only 4 hours since then, and it hasn't gotten any better. I put some hydrocortisone on it, but there was no effect. Everyone is sleeping now except for me. To be honest, I probably would have rather been shot in the leg or something.

JLC said...

I feel your pain... er... itch. I'm sitting at work trying not to scratch my sunburnt/itchy legs in public! Thank you for the tips!

Anonymous said...

Oh my GOD.

I got sunburnt on Friday, it is now Tuesday. So, this is day 4. The itch started on Sunday with my stomach and sides, I covered it with a migrastick (peppermint and lavender oil) and it helped enough for me to get back to sleep. It then started to creep to my back and arms. Today the backs of my legs started itching unbearably on the train to work, and sitting here at my desk is so uncomfortable. I just went to the bathroom and covered the back of my thighs with migrastick again, it helped. Apparently the peppermint oil is an anaesthetic which dulls nerves, and lavender is meant to be soothing and healing.

I took two antihisamine to sleep last night and now I feel like a twitching, itchy zombie. This is f'ing hell.

What has worked?

Peppermint oil (a few people have mentioned it in previous comments)
Antihistamine tabs from the chemist.

This has to be over soon, right?

Anonymous said...

P.S. There is nothing as disconcerting as having your arm or leg twitch without your control.

Anonymous said...

P.P.S. As for how long this is going to go for, I have scanned each comment made on this blog so far and the answers vary between 1 hour and 4 days depending on your particular burn. If I think about how long I have had it, I am currently at about 30 hours...

Anonymous said...

OK I'm back (I'm the one with all the P.S's). It is now day 7 and I am FINALLY peeling. Still itchy, but bearable.

My advice?
- antihistamines from the chemist: one non-drowsy for the day, and a super knock out one for sleep.
- PEPPERMINT OIL, seriously. It's incredible. I used a migrastick which is a blend of peppermint and lavender oil.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely second the Peppermint Oil recommendation, I tried basically every other suggestion and peppermint oil and anti-histamines were the only things that really worked...

Note however, that pure peppermint oil will result in a cool burning sensation, and you will feel like you've just traded the itch in for some pain (probably a good trade nonetheless), but after about 1/2 an hour you should hopefully find that the itching will subside.

So thank-you to the contributor of that suggestion, you saved me from almost hurling myself of our 10th story balcony!

Australian Summer said...

This really is hell on earth! I don't mean to be bitter about it, but to those people who DO NOT know what it is like; Don't pass comment!!!

OMG! They act like it is the most hilarious thing in the World to watch me writhing in agony with this itch, telling me "it's not that bad!" Bah!

The twitching, the biting... Ahhh... Do try not to think about it.

My advice for the future sufferers?

1) Don't take a shower!
2) take what ever relief works for you.
3) (most important) Don't take crap off the folks who think they know whats best for you.

Only YOU (and the rest of this blog :) ) know what this is like.

Good luck and take care people.

Australian Summer

Anonymous said...

ive gotten a red rash and some bumps that developed around my sunburn. The sunburn was on my (male organ) and i couldnt tell if it was a rash or herpees. But either way it really itched bad. hope this was helpful.

Anonymous said...

Oh my... I have had scabies and this is 80,000 times worse... my nurse sister suggested antihistamines... 30 mins later and still bad but fading... i put a wet towel in the freezer... the cold is good but really the towel is just scratching the itch

Oliver said...

The running man isn't crazy. I have fair skin, and I've probably burned myself 15 times in my life (I like to be outdoors, and sometimes sunscreen isn't an option). Heat (as counter-intuitive as it sounds) seems to be the key. When the HELL itching starts (and yes, it IS THAT bad), I start doing push ups, running around, anything that will get my blood pumping. Hot showers sting, but they do seem to relieve the itch temporarily. And the warmest room in the house (or outside in the shade if it's warmer) seems to be the best place to be. Again, these aren't necessarily the best things for the BURN, but anyone who has experienced the HELL itch knows that you pretty much quit worrying about the burn as soon as the itch begins. Some of you have found relief in products- but you also mention running around like crazy after applying because it still itches so bad, but then it went away after a little might just be that you needed to get your blood pumping/temperature up???

Oliver said...

As a follow up thought...and subsequent to my last post, consider what a snake does when it needs to shed it's skin-- it goes and lies in the SUN! CRAZY! I wouldn't say it would be good for us to get anymore sun, but heat must be somehow helpful.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I are on a backpacking trip around Central America, 2 days ago we went snorkelling in Belize got very sunburnt even though we had applied waterproof SPF 50 twice during the morning and was only in the sun for no more than 3 hours.
We are now in Guatemala in a hostel room and 4 hours ago my boyfriend started going crazy loopy scratching his back (or what he could reach atleast), I applied cocoa butter moisturiser then sprayed Benodryl itch relief on to it but it made it worse, I told him to get into the cold shower, it seemed to make it worse but he stayed in there for awhile. I gave him 2 IBuProfens and told him to drink some water, Didn't help. When he got out he was almost in tears! I am panicking as we have an 8 hour bus to catch tomorrow on bumpy hot roads, we don't have anything to apply and the pharmacies wont be open when we leave this town. No one speaks English very well and we don't speak Spanish - typical that these things always happen when you are so far from home! I almost started to cry myself and feel so helpless. He seems to be ok now that he has a towel wrapped tightly around his back but once he removes it it itches. He said he is feeling tired so hopefully he will sleep all night. Aggghhhh! Nightmare!! :(

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