(Scalp) Blister in the Sun
June 21, 2010 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Blistery sunburn on my scalp/hair part. What now?

Aparently the sunburn I got on my scalp (where my hair parts) is bad enough that it started to blister. I’ve already broken at least one of the blisters. Oops.

1. Any suggestions as to how to get the antibiotic ointment through my massive amounts of hair and onto the scalp without rubbing it in (and breaking the blisters?), or getting a lot of antibiotic goop in my hair?
2. Should I be worried about shampooing?
3. Would wearing a hat outdoors until this heals make it better or worse?
posted by dinty_moore to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I have some spray aloe/anti-owwie stuff that I find also works well on the scalp. Try some kind of spray rather than something you have to rub on. I'd also advise the spray sunscreen to prevent this. Shampoo carefully! But yes, just wear a hat and protect it to make sure it doesn't get worse.
posted by Eicats at 11:36 AM on June 21, 2010

I forgot my hat over the weekend and burned my scalp and I'm balding. Like a dolt I do this every few years.

I'll just dab goop onto the area. Not a lot you can to do keep the goop out of your hair, I'm afraid. I've never had a problem shampooing my hair (when I had a lot of it) except even cold water hurts like hell on my noggin.

Yes wear a hat outdoors and start doing so after it heals.
posted by birdherder at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2010

Here's the stuff I have, and I love it:

I will add though, that most OTC treatments say not to use on broken skin, so you may need to consult a doc on this one.
posted by Eicats at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2010

It's okay to go about your normal routine, but keep your brush away from the sunburned part of your scalp. If your hair's long enough, wear it in a ponytail; if not, pull it back with a wide headband or scarf. This will hide the blisters and eliminate having your having to mess with your part. Wearing your hair back in the sun will prevent future part-burns, too.

In a few days, after the pain subsides, keep an eye out for giant flakes of peeled skin along your part. It's pretty embarrassing to have someone point out what looks like a severe dandruff problem.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2010

Firstly, antibiotic ointment is not going to help unless there's an actual infection, and you haven't mentioned any infection. Try to get some calamine lotion - it's an old-fashioned treatment that works pretty well.

Mostly, the best thing for sunburn is to leave it alone. Wash your hair very gently. Try not to disturb the blisters too much, although they usually break at some point. Let the air get to the skin. It will dry and peel/flake - try to avoid the temptation to help it along. Moisturise the new skin as soon as it's comfortable to do so.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2010

Response by poster: For the people suggesting aloe/calamine lotion: I thought you were supposed to stop applying that if you prematurely pop the blister-am I misremembering that? I'm less concerned with the itching/burning (which isn't fun, but bearable) and more concerned with possible infection.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:35 PM on June 21, 2010

Has the antibiotic ointment been prescribed by a doctor, or is it just something you think might be a good idea? Unless it's been prescribed, stop using it.
posted by halogen at 1:29 PM on June 21, 2010

I'm pretty sure that neither calamine lotion nor aloe will do you any harm if you've popped a blister or two. Pouring the stuff directly into a big open wound might not be as advisable.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:42 PM on June 21, 2010

Response by poster: And argh-misspoke about the antibiotic ointment, I'm thinking of an antiseptic. I'd usually use 3% hydrogen peroxide, but I don't want to give myself a bad dye job while I'm at it.

Sorry for the undue confusion.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2010

Take some ibuprofen, it will help with the pain and reduce swelling.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:42 PM on June 21, 2010

Don't use anything oily on any burn. That's one of the first things they teach you in basic first aid. Aloe gel helps burns heal faster, and should be fine on a burn or open wound.
posted by annsunny at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2010

Most spray aloe contains alcohol, which may burn like hell if you've got an open blister. (If you don't have open blisters, or if you can spray around them, then spray aloe is heaven, I like the Walgreen's store brand.) Normal aloe gel without any alcohol (not "cooling gel") should be fine.

Make sure you take cool showers to avoid pain.
posted by anaelith at 4:04 PM on June 21, 2010

And for any of you who get a:"Blistery sunburn on my scalp/hair part." every year the "What now?" is plan on spending the rest of your life having a dermatologist look at your scalp about once a year. IANAD.
posted by leafwoman at 4:30 PM on June 21, 2010

Have you tried something like Neosporin? It's good for cuts and stuff, so it should be ok on a sunburn (get the one for pain relief?) and for the broken blisters.

Also, try to make it your own routine to apply a little bit of sunblock to the place where your hair parts if you know you're going to be out in the sun. I've had the bad sunburn there and I know it sucks.

Do you use a moisturizer with SPF daily? That works just fine for me. A little drop covers the inch or two of scalp that gets uncovered when I part my hair and leaves no oily-looking trace.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 4:50 PM on June 21, 2010

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