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Prone to Sunburn

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Azusa: It hurts so much.
Mugi: You got really burnt again.
Azusa: I put on sunscreen, but it didn't work.
K-On!, "Late Summer Greeting Card"

Some characters just can't take sun exposure, especially if they have pale skin and/or don't go outside much. They tend to overshoot tanning and go straight to sunburned with very little time in the open. Thus, when faced with things like a Beach Episode, they'll do everything they can to not participate, and if they do participate, they'll stay in the shade as much as possible or go to amusing extremes to protect themselves from the sun. If they do decide to take their chances with the sun, they usually regret it.

Related to Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn, where a character who may or may not burn easily gets badly sunburned regardless. This can play into the stereotypes addressed by But Not Too White and The Shut-In. See also Suntan Stencil, when this is exploited.

Daywalking Vampires sometimes have this as a way to show that they aren't completely resistant to sunlight.


Compare with Moonburn, where people get sunburns from things besides the sun.

Truth in Television for people with especially pale skin, albinos, and people from the British Isles.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In K-On!, it's a Running Gag that whenever the light music club goes to practice camp by the sea, Azusa always gets sunburnt in a matter of hours and spends the remainder of the camp red as a lobster. Along with the pain, her sunburns have led to her classmates laughing at her tan lines in the changing room and even not recognizing her.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Sherlock Holmes fanfic Agreement and Disputation, Holmes, while complaining about the heat wave currently making London miserable, expresses gratitude for hat brims. He notes that his paleness makes him vulnerable to sunburn, which makes him look undignified.
  • In one of A.A. Pessimal's Discworld fics, Johanna Smith-Rhodes advises her daughters:
    We're redheads. In strong sunlight, we end up the same colour that everybody else starts out as. Eventually.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Curious George, when Ted, the Man in the Yellow Hat, gets his hat taken by George, he begs for it saying that he needs it because "the sun is hot, and I freckle. And not in a good way, either; I blotch."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Logan: Caliban has albinism and is very weak to sunlight. This is exploited when he's captured, as he's tortured by simply exposing him to sunlight.
  • Casper/Whitey from Me, Myself & Irene is an albino who left his family when they were going to move to Phoenix, Arizona.
    Casper: I wouldn't have lasted ten minutes out there.

  • Akata Witch: Justified with Sunny's albinism; she's so sensitive to the sun that she has difficulty playing soccer outdoors. She's overjoyed when the sensitivity is negated by her new Leopard Person powers.
  • Artemis Fowl: Dwarves, being subterranean creatures, have a burn time of three minutes on the surface. Mulch Diggums lays on the sunscreen heavily whenever he's going to be spending time out in the sun.
  • In The ColSec Trilogy, Heleth was raised underground for most of her life, and thus has very pale skin and sunburns very easily.
  • Exaggerated in Desperation. Entragian already sunburns very easily, but when he's possessed by Tak this accelerates to the point that less than a week of sun exposure causes his body to start literally falling apart.
  • In A Macabre Myth of a Moth-Man, Brett has a skin condition that causes him to easily sunburn, which fuels his shut-in tendencies. Learning that he can contract melanoma from sunburns only makes things worse.
  • In A Memoir By Lady Trent, a Running Gag is Tom's skin becoming very red whenever he's exposed to the sun for too long, and wherever he goes, the locals nickname him some form of "red" or "red man".
  • Vampires in the Night Huntress series can withstand the sun, but will quickly develop nasty sunburns which will, almost as quickly, heal and peel, only for the process to repeat with continued exposure.
  • In Room, one of the side effects of Jack's long-term imprisonment in the shed is that he quickly sunburns.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, vampires will get sunburns after very limited exposure, and fatal sunstroke can set in after only a few hours.
  • In We Walk the Night, the older vampires get, the more susceptible they are to sunburns and the more severe the burning gets.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Father Ted, Ted tells a visiting priest that Dougal doesn't take the sun very well when he travels. A series of pictures shows Dougal with a lobster-red complexion in front of the Taj Mahal, the Vatican, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and even the Eiffel Tower.
  • When the Scrubs cast goes to Hawaii for the janitor's wedding, Ted's seen applying liberal amounts of sunscreen to his face before going to the beach. It's shown to be an extreme example of this trope when immediately after it's lampshaded, Ted's skin absorbs all of the sunscreen, requiring him to reapply it seconds after he applied it the first time. Later in the episode, he gets persuaded to go into the sun unprotected and he gets a sunburn in the time it takes to step out of the shade and turn around.
  • Vampires in Supernatural can survive sun exposure but get extreme sunburns, hence why they tend to operate at night.
  • In Better Call Saul Jimmy McGill frequently alludes to the McGill family's Irish heritage and resultant pale skin as reasons why they are not best suited to life in the blistering Albuquerque sunshine. Sure enough, when Jimmy spends some time relaxing at a hotel's pool at the start of season 2 it doesn't take long for him to burn. In season 5 this is Played for Drama: when car trouble forces him to trek across the New Mexico desert, he ends up with sunburn so horrific that Kim Wexler wants to take him to the emergency room.

    Web Animation 


    Western Animation 
  • Metalocalypse: Dethklok winds up with sunburn while visiting the American South in "Bluesklok" (made worse because they take off their shirts due to the heat). Pickles, in particular, says that he's "very Irish" while asking if anyone has sunblock.
  • The Venture Bros.: Pete White. Justified, if greatly exaggerated from time to time, due to his albinism.
  • Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, demonstrated with a very to-the-point quote:
    Mandy: I don't tan Billy, I burn.