Woman left 'looking like tomato' and thought face would 'explode' after sleeping in sun

A woman who loves to tan has shared her horror as her face was left looking like a ‘tomato’ and she felt like it was going to ‘explode’ after falling asleep outdoors in the sunshine

Hannah Moussa
Hannah didn’t realise she would get so burnt

There’s nothing quite like a day at the beach, swimming in the sea and lounging around on the sand – enjoying a kip in the warm weather.

But one woman has learned the hard way how dangerous it can be to fall asleep in the sunshine.

Hannah Moussa was on holiday in Egypt with her little sister Sarah last month, when the pair accidentally nodded off while trying to catch some rays.

The siblings later found their faces were as red as a “tomato” or a “traffic light” and felt like they were going to “explode”.

They quickly went in search of aftersun – but couldn’t find any, so had to try and soothe the pain by placing wet flannels on their sore skin and sitting by a fan.

The following morning things took a turn for the worse as they awoke to faces so swollen they looked like they’d ‘swallowed bees’ and they also suffered from headaches, vomiting and eventually blisters.

Hannah was left looking like a ‘tomato’


Kennedy News and Media)

She spent five hours in the sun


Kennedy News and Media)

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The sisters were diagnosed with sun poisoning or polymorphic light eruption – a case of severe sunburn after being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun for an extended period of time.

Retail Manager Hannah and her 18-year-old sister say they were forced to stay indoors for the rest of their trip and it took a full week for the swelling to subside.

And while the swelling has gone down, Hannah does still have some patches on her face.

She’s now keen to raise awareness of the importance of wearing sun cream – especially for women who are on the pill or have acne treatment as their skin may be more sensitive.

Hannah of Salisbury, Wiltshire, said: “I’ve had lots of comments like ‘oh, red traffic light’ or ‘tomato’.

“I definitely looked like a tomato.

“My sister’s face looked like a balloon and it was physically stretching, she said she couldn’t even do expressions because it was so tight.

“I had that a little bit, but wasn’t as bad as hers. Even smiling and laughing, it felt like my face was going to explode.”

They used wet flannels to calm the burn


Kennedy News and Media)

She’s urged others to take care in the sun


Kennedy News and Media)

Hannah explains they were out in the sun for around five hours before discovering they’d been severely burnt.

She continued: “When we were out there we went to the seaside for a few days and sat in the sun one day and we, stupidly to be fair, fell asleep.

“We don’t usually burn at all, we’ve both never sunburnt before.

“When we went inside we realised how red we were. It was bad and we didn’t really know what to do.

“It was bright red and obviously sore to touch, as a normal sunburn would be.

“We didn’t have sun cream on, we don’t usually wear it when we’re away in Egypt or in the sun because we never burn. I know you should anyway but we never have as we don’t burn.”

She said it was mainly their faces that were burnt, but that their arms and legs were also too.

Sarah’s face swelled up


Kennedy News and Media)

They were diagnosed with sun poisoning


Kennedy News and Media)

As the day progressed they started to become unwell as she had a headache and was sick two or three times a day for three days.

Hannah said: “When we woke up the next day it looked like we’d swallowed a bee or something. Our faces were so swollen.

“Our family were getting a bit worried about it so they called the doctor who said we had sun poisoning.

“I’d never even heard of it until he said that. I knew you could get sunstroke but I never knew you could actually be poisoned by the sun.

“The next day after that it was just getting progressively worse. Our faces were just getting bigger and bigger pretty much.

“Obviously we felt really hot and couldn’t cool down. We had a headache, were being sick, had hot skin and there were blisters all over our faces.

“We had a fan on and were just sat with wet flannels all over our face. Another thing we used was starch and cold water and that actually helped the most I would say.”

She admits that they did have a couple of comments about their appearance on the way back from their holiday.

“The people at the check-in desk and border control in Egypt were making jokes and pointed at Sarah’s passport and were like ‘this is her’ and then pointed at her and were like ‘this isn’t the same person’.

“We were a little bit worried as she didn’t look at all like her passport photo.

“Every point we went through someone made a comment and we were like ‘oh no’.

“We went out for a family member’s birthday [after coming home] and we were meant to go somewhere nice but instead we went to the quietest restaurant and sat right at the back away from everyone, we were so embarrassed.”

Hannah claims that her and Sarah are on the same contraceptive pill and a side effect is skin sensitivity, which was also compounded by acne medication she’d previously taken.

She shared her experience online and her post amassed more than 16,500 likes, comments and shares.

Hannah said: “I’d tell people not to sit in the sun for too long and wear a hat or use an umbrella or something.

“Wear sun cream even if you don’t usually burn, 100%, that’s probably my main message from this. I’ll definitely be wearing it now.

“Before I was so desperate to get a tan and it’s just not worth it. Obviously, sit in the sun for a bit but not for hours and hours.

“It’s just not worth going through all of that, feeling so ill and obviously there’s long-term damage as well, my skin is still patchy now.

“My other advice would be to any girls that either take the pill or have been on acne medication just to be extra careful with the skin because I never realised how sensitive my skin was going to be afterwards.”

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