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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Suggest remedies for sunburn on the face

Answered by
Dr. Dariush Saghafi


Practicing since :1988

Answered : 2474 Questions

Posted on Wed, 31 Aug 2016 in Brain and Spine
Question: I was mopping my floor and was overcome by a sudden burning on my face arms and neck. Feels like sunburn -not going away. I am on heart meds for afib and BP since dec 15. no new meds or food. 64 yr old woman. What should I do?
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Is the face Red and warm as well or is it just the SENSATION of burning?

Detailed Answer:
Good afternoon and thank you for this question. I take it this is the first time you have ever felt such a thing.

There are a number of reasons why people can spontaneously feel a HOT or BURNING sensation on the face. The most obvious reason would be that for some reason they suddenly become FLUSHED in the face...In other words, the blood vessels in the face suddenly just open wide open and there is the typical feeling of being flushed as happens in times of embarrassment or XXXXXXX or other extremes of emotion.

Also, sudden burning sensations in the face with not quite as much elevation in temperature and redness as flushing can occur...but if part of what's called ERYTHERMALGIA....then, you would be exhibiting a rare form of that disorder. Mostly in that type of episode limbs or the trunk suddenly become warm, red, and painful or burning. It can occur in the face and neck but it's rare.

Another sudden burning sensation in the face without other symptoms could also occur in a stroke. However, if that were to occur I would've expected other symptoms to occur such as weakness, numbness/tingling, nausea, vertigo, and that doesn't seem to have happened. Nonetheless, if you go and have this checked out and cannot find anything else to explain the symptom and since you say it is continuing without abating it may not be a bad idea to obtain an MRI of the brain and specifically look at the brainstem to see if a small vessel ischemic infarct could have possibly occurred. It is a possibility.

Finally, in this short list of possible causes I will mention anxiety. It is not an uncommon cause of isolated facial burning, however, generally the symptoms quiets down whenever the reason for why the person became anxious passes. If this has persisted for any length of time or if you can think of no reason why you should've suddenly become uncontrollably anxious then, this may not be the most likely reason.

I would say that if this were my situation or my mother's situation and wanted to be sure that this event was not the worst possible case scenario I might suggest that a trip to the ER with the intention of getting an MRI of the brain......NOT A CT SCAN because I guarantee you it will come out normally. Plus CT of the head is not a very sensitive imaging study to look at the contents of the posterior fossa of the brain and really where we need to look is in the brainstem. MRI is the only really good imaging modality for that.

In addition, they need to do what is called a DIFFUSION/PERFUSION weighted study to look for the signs of a SMALL centrally located STROKE located most likely in the pons or medulla. I doubt this is up in the cerebral hemispheres if it's even a stroke. But that's how I would proceed. If nothing is found then, I might just make an appointment with your friendly local NEUROLOGIST and then, go in for a ONCE OVER....never can hurt to get some labs drawn and a few other things just to make sure everything is up to snuff.

If I've satisfactorily addressed your question then, could you do me the kindest of favors by CLOSING THIS QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback and a 5 STAR rating to our transaction if you feel the response has helped you? Again, many thanks for posing your question.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 27 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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