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Sunburn, tender skin, sore. Normal?

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Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 11722 Questions
About 30 years ago, I fell asleep on a beach in New Zealand and got badly sunburned on my left forearm. That area of my forearm gets tender from time to time, and the last 2 days I hve really been aware of the aching feeling in that area. Over the years, I've brought this up to doctors, who have been hesitant to x-ray it - maybe because that might make it feel worse or contribute to damage done. I am 58, heathy, Caucasian female and would like your opinion if I should seek another medical opinion in case something is happening underneath this area, which is probably 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. There are no moles or any indication on surface of skin - just the soreness to the touch.
Posted Thu, 12 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 37 minutes later

Thanks for your query.

A sunburn which happened on your arm some 30 years ago which pains occasionally even now means that the sunburn has injured your XXXXXXX seated nerves also which whenever get irritated give rise to a pain.
The area you have described - is it pigmented or red or rough or dry?
It will be best if you could send me a picture of the rash.
Please mail me the picture to YYYY@YYYY SUB: ATTN Dr.Rakhi Tayal.
Please do not forget to reply back here once you mail the picture, so that I can view it as a follow up and answer your query here.
Meanwhile you can take pain killers for the pain and apply an aloe vera gel for local relief.

Waiting for your reply

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sunburn, tender skin, sore. Normal? 8 hours later
Dear Dr. Tayal,

Thank you very much for your advise! My worry is that a larger problem like cancer could be growing under the skin, and I wonder how I could find out (except x-ray, which doctors have been hesitant to do (more radiation?) The top layers of skin are not red, not irratated, no rash - just a few brown spots from being 58 and not protecting my skin enough growing up. As I write this, that area is tender to the touch, and your explanation feels right. I am not the type of person who dwells on what could go wrong as a general rule - I'm just trying to be intelligent about it. I have spoken with doctors about this issue a few times over the years, and they have not been concerned. I realize I could see a specialist - just that it is very expensive & our insurance won't cover it (plus, we have two sons in college!) I am happy to send you a picture of the area - just have to wait for my husband/camera phone/mail it to you.THANK YOU AGAIN VERY MUCH - I am so glad to have "met" you - are you in India? My sister is a neo-natal RN up in Berkeley, California and has specialized in "Kangaroo Care" for many years, if you have ever heard of that practice.
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 45 minutes later

Good to hear from you again.

Yes, I am from India and I am happy that I could satisfy you with my answer.
I will be awaiting for the photos.

Wishing you an early recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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