45 Severe Sunburns That Make Us Want To Slather On The Sunscreen Right Now

By Abigail T

As the summer really heats up around the world, we’re here to remind you one thing: wear your sunscreen, kids! You may think you’re invincible now, but just wait until you get home from a day at the beach and realize you have a tan the shape of your sunglasses on your forehead. Sunscreen doesn’t only protect your skin from the scorching sun; it can also help prevent skin cancer and early aging. And, if you apply enough, you may even get a really nice tan instead of an ugly burn. Experts have recommended wearing sunscreen even when you’re indoors. Imagine how much more you need to apply when you’re outdoors! In case you need to see some warning signs about the dangers of forgetting sunscreen, here are 45 horror stories from people who played with fire and got badly burned.

Leave a mark

Summer is the perfect time to be outside painting your deck. It rarely rains (unless you’re in Florida), so there’s no chance the paint will be ruined. It’s also hot enough that the paint can dry quicker. So you can understand this guy’s decision-making process.

Photo courtesy of Imgur/jayeatsnachos

Unfortunately for him, whatever he was wearing while he was painting left a nasty sunburn on his back. To be fair, even if he did put on sunscreen before getting to work, he probably wouldn’t have thought to apply some in that specific spot!

I don’t need help, bro

Applying sunblock is truly a team effort. You can get the parts of the body that you can reach on your own. But when it comes to your back, you need someone to help you. Otherwise, you suffer the consequences.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/LilJrChicken

This person refused to let his friend help him apply sunscreen on his back. You can clearly see where his hands could reach. Hilarious as this sunburn pattern may be, we’re sure living with it for the next few days wasn’t pleasant at all.

Popsicle stick

Ever heard of a farmer’s tan? It’s when you wear a t-shirt or shorts, and the tan lines very clearly divide your skin where your sleeves or hems were. Some call it a farmer’s tan. Some compare it to a popsicle stick.

Photo courtesy of reddit/genuinlyinterested

All the same, it’s just the unfortunate plight of sitting too long in the sun. Do you know what this girl should have done? Used sunscreen. There’s no guarantee that the tan can be avoided, but at least the burn would hurt a lot less!

Patrick on your back

Bathing suits these days come in all kinds of designs. From the very skimpy ones to the chunkier ones, the ones with the crossed backs to the ones that tie in the front. The more complicated the bathing suit design is, the wilder the tan lines.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/burner70

This girl was in the sun for a little too long in her bathing suit. All fun and games until she got home, of course. Her mother realized that the bathing suit left a Patrick Star-shaped mark on her back. So, the mother drew on eyes, of course! It looks just like him!

Yoga pants tan

Bathing suits aren’t the only articles of clothing that vary in style. Yoga pants also come in different designs. They can be reversible, high-waisted, ankle-length, and even have mesh patterns on them. This woman quickly learned not to wear the latter kind in the sun.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/martlet1

These yoga leggings might have been a good idea for a quick run to the grocery store. But if you’re out to watch your son’s baseball game, standing in an open field under the sun, maybe throw on something with a little more coverage.

Lobster red

Well, this is a pretty gnarly sunburn. He looks like Hellboy! Or at the very least, like a freshly-boiled lobster shell. The amount of pain he must be in with that burn behind his ears. We don’t even want to think about it.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/AuX2

Can we find a positive thing in this picture? Well… at least he had the common sense to wear a hat? This should teach us that sunscreen also needs to be applied to the back of our necks. If anything, it’s the most important part since it’s the most exposed to the sun at all times.


Have you ever been so badly sunburnt that you look fluorescent? Like you can actually glow in the dark? Twitter user @totallykeen knows exactly how that looks and feels. And all because he fell asleep in the sun, which is never a good idea.

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@totallykeen

As a rule of thumb, if you’re walking out the door, skincare experts say you should always wear SPF no matter how gloomy it is. Otherwise, you might end up, in Chris’s vernacular, looking like a tomato. And nobody wants that.

When you match with your dog

This is what happens when you stand outside for too long-wearing shoes and socks in the summer. Of course, you would think nothing of it. But when you come back home and take those shoes off, you realize this spectacle…

Photo courtesy of Pikabu/Vituka

You now match with your dog. The level of tan this guy reached is insane. It almost looks like he had just gotten out of a mud bath, dipping in every part of him but his feet. The dog seems glad to have a matching trait with its human.

Uneven tan

We’re all used to getting uneven tans, right? Nothing another round of sunbathing can’t fix. But, we have a feeling this person’s tan cannot be fixed. It almost looks like these hands and feet belong to two different people.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/MadoneXI

We can all learn something here. Don’t tan with shoes on. Of course, if this happened because of standing outside for too long with shoes on, then maybe wear sandals instead. At least then, you would have a couple of white lines on your feet instead of a completely different skin tone.

Another guy who didn’t need help

We’re sensing a pattern here. It seems that the people who refused to receive help to put sunscreen on their backs are mostly men who don’t want to ask for assistance. They suffer the consequences themselves after a long day out in the sun.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/SugarHighBakedGoods

If only they had sucked it up and asked for help. If only masculinity hadn’t prevented them from asking someone else in their party to apply sunscreen on their back. They wouldn’t have to walk around and sleep in pain for days!

Fishing burn

Fishing trips can be fun, right? You’re out in the open waters, just you and the tranquillity of the ocean. You come home with some fresh fish to fry. But what you didn’t realize is that out in those waters, you’re right smack dab under the sun.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@chipptooth

Sure, you can be on a boat with a canopy, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the sun will always be beating down above you. Guess this guy just forgot about that and kept his sunglasses on the entire time.

Two-day cosplay

Most people who do cosplay come as one character a day, even if the convention or parade lasts a few days. People go all-out in their costumes, DIY-ing a lot of elements to keep costs low. Sometimes cosplays involve face painting.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@zankantou00

Face painting is all well and fun. But if you’re cosplaying outdoors, the result can hurt like this guy here, who cosplayed as a pirate clown. His one-day costume ended up being a two-day extravaganza as he had to come into work with the outline of bones still on his face!

Visor burn

People with shaved heads have more of a concern when they step out in the sun. The top of their scalp is directly under the sun and is more prone to sunburn. While we’re not sure whether you can apply sunblock on the scalp, maybe throw on a hat next time?

Photo courtesy of Reddit/rayfin

And by hat, we mean the full-coverage kind! Not a visor, which leaves the most vulnerable part of your head exposed to the sun! This poor guy suffered the consequences. To be fair, he was new to the shaved head experience. Maybe he just hadn’t thought about it that far.

Adam’s apple protection

Who knew that protection from UV rays could come from something that was already on your body? This guy discovered that even though he didn’t apply SPF on his neck, at least his Adam’s apple was still protected from sunburn.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/dmoney51

It’s a pretty weird-looking burn if you asked us. It looks almost like a rash that decided to spread everywhere but the Adam’s apple. The science of it makes sense. The Adam’s apple must have protruded just enough to provide shade to the area directly around it.

Spray sunscreen is deceitful

There are multiple kinds of sunscreen nowadays. They don’t just come as lotion, which feels sticky on your skin. They also come in spray form, like any other deodorant or body spray. You would think that with this easy application, you’d be fine. But nope.

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@proflj

This guy learned the hard way that even if you’ve sprayed sunscreen on you, you still have to even it out with your hand. In short, you’re not safe just by spraying it. Now he has to deal with looking like an abstract painting.

Temporary scar, permanent Band-Aid

No one really thinks much about Band-Aids. If you have a cut, you cover it. It heals in a day, and you’re done. But you become reminded of the Band-Aids on your arm when you go out in the sun and come back to take them off.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/_Lily_Bear_23

We’re not sure what’s funnier here—the Band-Aid mark on this person’s arms or the way they’re taking a photo of themselves. How on earth did they even manage to press the shutter button? Couldn’t they have just taken a picture of each arm separately? Hilarious.

Home remedy

There are a few well-known home remedies for a bad sunburn. The most popular one is aloe vera gel. You don’t even have to buy an aloe vera plant now; many sunblock brands also sell aloe vera gel. But when the sunburn is brutal, you need more than that.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/Splizzy29

Green tea is said to soothe sunburn too, so this man swathed himself in it. He was horribly sunburnt in Australia, and to make matters worse, he had to sit on a plane for 19 hours with those burns! We can’t imagine the kind of pain and fatigue he was in.

Sun tan or fake tan ?

We’re looking at this picture, and we’re thinking, there’s no way that this guy got this tan in the sun. This looks like a DIY home tanning or a spray tan job. You would have to be basking in the sun for so long to get this dark.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/airboy1999

Considering his original skin tone as seen on his foot, there is no way this was a natural tan. If he did indeed tan himself, why wouldn’t he do his feet too? Some things just make zero sense, but it’s the Internet, so we’ll let it slide.

Spray sunscreen lesson

See what we told you? Spray sunscreen is deceitful in its packaging and delivery. You would think simply spraying it on would protect you, but it’s really only the first step. According to Twitter user @traseydb, if you only spray it, you’ll end up looking like ColbyJjack cheese.

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@traseydb

Not gonna lie. We see an exact resemblance here. And while it is unfortunate that those legs have to stay looking like that for a while, it is pretty funny. We would have never thought of Colby Jack cheese. Next time, rub in the spray sunscreen, kids!

Hindsight is always 20/20

Have you ever looked back at something stupid you did in the past and thought, “I shouldn’t have done that”? Well, that’s exactly what this person thought when she got home from a day in the sun and saw these tan lines.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@girlongreyyy

She probably should have worn something with more coverage. Definitely shouldn’t have worn a shirt with cut-out squares in the back. In her defense, she probably wasn’t thinking it would be that big of a deal. But when it comes to the sun, it’s no joke.

Funky finger tan

Here’s a photo of a real-life tan disaster, in case you’re wondering what would happen if you wore fingerless gloves in the sun. Maybe this person had to wear them for his job. If so, that’s just unfortunate. That tan is going to take forever to even out.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@igwvideo

Even if it’s winter, you can still get somewhat tanned outside as long as the sun is shining. Maybe next time, this guy should wear proper, full-coverage gloves instead. Oh, and a long-sleeved shirt to avoid that harsh line on his wrist.

Not happy now

We all make choices we live to regret. The more significant ones affect us throughout our lifetime. Then there are the slightly less important but embarrassing all the same, like this person’s decision to wear a sticker on her face while running.

Photo courtesy of Imgur/mitchp88

The sticker itself is very fitting for the occasion. Color Runs are supposed to be a happy event. But we bet she’s not so happy now, or so it seems, with the word practically tattooed on her forehead for the foreseeable future.

The Last Lightbender

Oh, look. Another cosplay face paint disaster! We’re sure this guy looked great as Aang, the last Airbender. But without the rest of the costume and the arrow now skin-colored instead of blue, he just looks a little crazy.

Photo courtesy of Imgur/kidkapelski

There have been enough face paint and sticker sunburn mishaps on this list to teach us all a lesson. Nobody’s stopping you from wearing these things on your face. But it’s your own responsibility to be mindful of how long you stand in the sun!

The fall of the arrogant

Yes, you should apply sunscreen to areas of your skin that will be exposed to the sun. But if you’re wearing a long-sleeved shirt, it doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen. Your hands are still exposed to the sun, aren’t they?

Photo courtesy of Reddit/randompopcorn

The safest option is to always apply sunscreen, especially in the summer. You won’t want to get a nasty burn, wherever it is on your body. And long-sleeved shirts don’t make you invincible to the sun’s rays. It’ll still get you, especially if the shirt is thin.

Hiker’s tan

Hiking is one of the activities which requires a large supply of sunscreen. People may not think too much of it since they’re mostly covered up, but you’d be surprised at the places where you can find the harshest of burns.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@joannasmall_doesitall

We’re assuming this red band around this person’s leg isn’t actually a tan. It looks like the result of wearing a leg brace for too long. Unless, of course, this person was wearing pants that had two windows on the calves. Honestly, that’s possible too, with where fashion is going these days.

RIP legs

This is a lesson for everyone. Don’t wear ripped jeans while sitting out in the sun. It’s never a good idea. This girl is lucky that the rip was only over the knees. Imagine if there had been multiple rips on the legs of those jeans!

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@jesskhan8

But wearing ripped jeans in the sun wasn’t her only crime. She also rolled the cuffs of the jeans up. As a result… well, you can see for yourself. Good luck evening that tan out, girl. It’s gonna take a while.

Ski trip souvenir

Logically, the closer you are to the sun, the easier it is to get burnt. Even if you’re on a snowy mountain in the Alps in the dead of winter, you’re still on one of the highest peaks in the world. Never underestimate the sun, even when it’s cold outside.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@tdobsonnet

This guy returned from his ski trip with a little more of a souvenir than he had wished for. Despite wearing sunscreen, he wore his sunglasses on his face and spare sunglasses on his forehead. Well, you can see the result for yourself.

Neon mark

What’s more important than protecting your shins with knee-high socks when you’re playing soccer? Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. You can say it’s cheesy, but we bet this guy can attest to just how true it is.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/Winner_92

While this person walked away without an injury, he still walked away with a pretty gnarly sunburn on his upper leg. You can clearly see where his socks stopped and where the skin was exposed. Folding his legs is going to be painful for at least a week after this doozy.


Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is that we learn from them. This Twitter user learned very quickly not to sit in the sun with shorts because of the nasty sunburn he got one time. Now he’s preaching to everyone else out there.

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@lewpreme

From the look of the sunburn, we can tell that this person wore shorts and probably sat on a chair for too long. That’s why the backs of his legs are completely fine because they weren’t exposed to the light! And a strong light it was that particular day.

Hat burn

If somebody tells you that you won’t need sunscreen on a hot day… wear sunscreen anyway. There’s no such thing as not needing sunscreen, okay? Never listen to anyone who tells you that. Unless you want to end up looking like this guy.

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@MarkdFL

What’s even worse is that he was wearing his hat backward! Now he just has a weird pattern on his forehead and will live with that for the next couple of weeks. Kids, parades are fine to attend. But just make sure you have plenty of sunblocks on, or you’ll be crying to your mommas!.

Bathing suit regrets

It’s summer. You want to show off your cute bathing suits on the beach, let everyone know you’ve been working out. But the question is, at what cost? For Twitter user @clairee_elysee, the answer to that is, well, to look bomb in a low-cut top from that day onwards.

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@clairee_elysee

We’re sure the bathing suit that she was wearing was cute, by the looks of these burn lines. There’s no denying that a crisscrossed one-piece is a pretty classic look. But the intricate tan and burn lines on her chest must not have been fun to rock.

A run in the sun

Running is a great way to let off some steam and calm the mind. If you’ve got the endurance, you can run for hours on end, like this Instagram user, who ran for over 4 hours. In the sun. Wearing a sleeveless shirt. No sunblock. Obviously.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@runwiththeflow

Some sunscreen would have probably been a good idea, but it’s too late now. Check out just how burned he got. The difference in shades between the burn and his original skin tone is drastic. Next time, maybe don’t run for 4 hours in the sun. Or take two minutes to protect yourself.

Not a good look

In general, Crocs are a fashion no-no. They’re chunky, and the all-rubber material does not do great for the way your feet will smell after hours of wearing them in the heat. They also make for unflattering tan patterns.

Photo courtesy of dailystar.co.uk

We would rather have the tan line of that girl in the crisscrossed bathing suit than have tan Crocs dots on our feet! This pattern is lowkey triggering for anyone with trypanophobia. Let’s quickly scroll past this disaster before anything bad happens.

Natural accessory

It’s pretty common for people to tan before attending a wedding. Whether it’s self-tanning, spray tanning, tanning bed, or sitting outside in the sun, people usually want a nice tan before a big event. Maybe this guy was trying to do the same.

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@COverholster

In his attempts, though, he must have forgotten to take off his cap. The result? A natural wedding accessory instead of a tan. If only he could wear the same cap to the wedding to cover up the absolute tanning fail!

Perfect sunburn

The dividing line between the sunburn and the original skin tone on this leg is immaculate. We are impressed but also a bit horrified. While we’re sure that this must have been a painful burn, we’re still pretty impressed at the precision of that line.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/nelskickass

Judging by the tan, it looks like this person wore socks and shoes outside for way too long. We understand that the shorts with long socks look is coming back. But if you’re going to dress that way in the summer, then you know the consequence you’ll suffer.

How long will it take to fix that?

Seriously, how long will it take? Usually, people even out a tan by sitting under the sun and exposing the untanned area towards the light. But we’re pretty sure this guy could end up with a heatstroke if he tries to do that.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/pics

It seems that the only option here would be to keep wearing a hat until he gets over the sunburn. But the problem is, who knows how long his skin will take to even out? He could be waiting months or even a whole year!


The worst part of healing a bad sunburn is when your skin starts to dry up and crack. It’s painful, and it looks like you’re shedding like a snake, which is never a good look. If you ever needed an explanation as to why sunscreen is important, just look at this guy.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@beadaddybear

That’s the look of pain and regret on his face. This is what three days under the sun without enough sun protection will do to your skin. Are you still thinking about going out without sunscreen? Think again. Or just keep thinking of this guy.

More criss-cross tans

This style of bathing suit must have been all the rage at one point. This woman isn’t the only one on this list who wore the swimsuit outside and got nasty tan lines because of it. We’re telling you, today’s beauty standard is either look cute or die trying.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/Otis-B-Driftwood

Those lines are going to take a while to even out, too. She’s going to have to spend a long time laying out in the sun, and there’s no guarantee it would even work. The pattern is way too intricate. She’s just going to have to wear a turtleneck all the time.

What happened here?

We’re not sure what kind of hat might have caused this kind of tan line. Maybe it wasn’t a hat at all. Either way, it’s confusing, and it must be painful for this man to live with. Imagine not being able to use shampoo because it’s way too painful on your scalp.

Photo courtesy of Imgur

Putting sunscreen on the scalp isn’t exactly conventional, but maybe people with shaved heads should consider doing this. It’s for their own good to protect the part of their body that is the most exposed to sunlight at any given point in the day.

An intense burn

If you’ve been sunburnt before, you’ll know that this shade of purple is exactly the color you do not want your skin to turn. At this point, your skin will be so painful to the touch, even a gush of wind will feel excruciating.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/raph3345

This photo should remind all of us to apply sunscreen on absolutely every exposed surface of the skin. The back of the neck is somewhere we wouldn’t think to cover with sunblock, but it’s one of the most exposed parts of the body!

Gladiator mark

Similar to the bathing suit tan lines we’ve seen, sandal marks can also look pretty funky depending on the style of the footwear. As we’ve previously seen, Crocs leave dots around your feet. Gladiator sandals leave this intricate pattern.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/lambini-houdini

Even if this guy had applied sunscreen on his feet, he would have still gotten these tan lines if he spent time under the sun for long enough. Maybe the lines wouldn’t have been that bad, but he still would have suffered the consequences.

This attempt will be futile

This guy was trying to even out his tan during his lunch break. Something tells us this attempt will be futile, though. Just look at the shade difference between his upper body and his legs. There is no way he can get that tan again.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/philfromchico

The solution would be to wear long trousers and closed shoes at all times until his body has lightened up on its own. If he keeps sitting under the sun like that, all he’s going to do is get his body darker, making the problem worse.

Tomato twin

Sunburn got you looking like a tomato? Join this club. There’s no fun way to go about a sunburn other than making fun of it. It’s ugly and painful as heck. But at least, if you can make light of it, you might be able to see some humor in it.

Photo courtesy of Instagram/@kelkaybpoetry

It will take a while for this girl’s face to return to a healthy shade of pink. But by the looks of the burn, aloe vera might be a saving grace. While it won’t help revert the color of the skin, it may help soothe the sting.


Have you ever seen a tub of Neapolitan ice cream? It’s a trio of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream next to each other. Well, that’s exactly what this guy’s legs look like after an attempt to even it out into one shade.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/pooter7

It looks like he tried to even out the first tan by sitting out in the sun… in another pair of shorts. Of course, he got a little bit of tan on the exposed skin, but there is still the part of the leg covered by the shorts! Big facepalm moment.

Dad joke

This Reddit user shared a photo that their dad sent them. Apparently, the dad texted them saying, “Getting this tan was quite a ‘feet.’” And while we’re concerned about the intense difference in shades between his feet and his legs, we do appreciate the dad joke.

Photo courtesy of Reddit/sloanesteel

As a couple of these posts have proven, the ability to laugh at yourself really does alleviate the situation a little. It may not solve anything, but at least you’re less stressed about it. But the most valuable lesson of all is, don’t forget sunscreen, kids.