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That’s according to dermatology professor Dr. Tanya Kormelli from UCLA. She says sunburn is a result of damaged cells expanding, and leaking plasma and other inflammatory compounds. That’s why your skin gets red, puffy and painful… and from the minute you burn yourself, things will only get worse over the next 24 hours, which is when the inflammation is at full force. So protect yourself with a high numbered SPF sunscreen and wear protective clothing if you’re going to be out in the sun.