What Does It Mean If You Dream About Getting A Sunburn?

It's important to take precautions to safeguard ourselves from harmful UV rays by using high SPF sun protection, even on overcast days. No one wants to get a painful sunburn and have to look for solutions to heal. However, even if you're diligent about applying SPF every time you go outside, you may still end up dealing with sunburn – in your dreams! Has this ever happened to you? If so, you're not alone. This dream scenario doesn't necessarily mean that you're being careless about your skincare either. But if that's the case, what does it signify?

"Typically, when the sun or any form of light in a dream is brought to your attention, the meaning is often about truth and about honesty—open honesty," dream analyst and author of the book "Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life," Lauri Loewenberg, told Well+Good. According to her, this is meant to show that "everything's getting out in the sunlight, metaphorically, and within that open honesty, there are some painful truths that might burn."

Decoding dreams of sunburn

According to psychologist and dream expert Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., the jury is still out on whether dreams have any meaning at all. "At that end, dreaming is considered totally meaningless," he told mindbodygreen regarding the perspective of many modern neuroscientists. "The other end is that dreaming is more substantial than waking." However, there are multiple psychological theories that rest toward the center of the spectrum. "From that perspective, dream interpretation is about decoding the dream. It enlightens us and expands our awareness psychologically."

When adopting one of the latter approaches, you must first break a sunburn-related dream down to analyze it. For example, in your dream, you may see yourself caught in a position where you are exposed to the sun – perhaps you are lazing on a beach or hiking up a mountain. While in this position, you realize that you have forgotten to lather an adequate amount of sunscreen on yourself. As you become aware of this fact, you see that your skin is getting burnt. This minor or major burn can signify different things.

At its core, exposing oneself to sunlight in this context may be akin to leaving oneself bare. It shows vulnerability and anticipation of being hurt. Getting burnt by the sun, at its deepest, could signify a physical pain that, according to Loewenberg, is merely a metaphor for some sort of emotional pain that is being suppressed and needs to be addressed.

Other possible meanings

According to dream interpreters, there could be several underlying reasons for dreaming about getting sunburned. For instance, the appearance of sunburn in your dream may indicate that negative emotions are hindering your personal growth. Other possibilities include a simple wish to escape the boredom of daily routine, or the inability to resolve a problem. Some deeper reasons could be a fear of being left behind or abandoned.

Loewenberg also shared with Well+Good that it's important to pay attention to the background details, so if someone is with you in the dream, perhaps the message relates to them. Certain aspects, like the degree of the burn, can also offer additional meanings. For example, a severe sunburn may mean that you need to pay attention to something you've been ignoring, while one that is peeling off your body shows that you may feel threatened by someone in your life. Interestingly, a dream about sunburn could indicate that you are living a life of excess, overindulging in food, expensive things, or substances. Once you understand the possible meaning behind the dream, you may be able to take steps to alter the situation in reality.