Sunburn results when the amount of exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light source exceeds the ability of the body's protective pigment, melanin, to protect the skin. A serious sunburn is as serious as a thermal burn, and may have the same systemic effects such as blistering, edema and fever.
Update Date 5/13/2011
Updated by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.