Dermatology Information and Resources


Burns are a painful condition that occurs after skin tissue has been damaged by heat. There are three degrees of burns depending on severity: First-degree burns are the mildest, resulting in damage only to the epidermis or outermost skin layer. Second-degree burns damage both the epidermis and dermis (the second layer of skin). Third-degree burns more deeply damage and destroy skin tissue and are likely to cause permanent damage.[1]

Common symptoms: Burn symptoms vary based on the degree of skin contact, temperature of burn surface, and level of exposure. First degree burns are normally characterized by pain on the burn site, sensitivity to heat, redness, and may or may not leave a mark on the skin. Second degree burns may cause more pain as well as blistering, swelling, skin peeling, and scarring. Third degree burns may cover a large section of the body or have significantly damaged deeper layers of skin.[2] Along with extreme pain, burn areas may turn white or deep brown and cause a leather-like effect on the skin.

Causes: Burns mainly occur from heat sources, most notably fire and hot surfaces. However, there are several other sources: chemical exposure, hot liquids, steam, scalding metals, electrical currents, smoke inhalation, radiation exposure, or overexposure to sunlight or UV rays.[3]

Treatment: In the case of a first degree burn, using an ice pack and remedies such as aloe vera on a first degree burn can reduce pain. Mild burn pain usually subsides on its own within a few hours. Due to the possibility of extreme pain and infection, second degree burns should be treated by a medical professional who can prescribe an antibiotic ointment and properly dress the wound Third degree are need intensive treatment to reduce pain, hydrate skin, treat potential nerve damage, prevent infection, or skin grafting.[4] Without prompt treatment of third degree burns, shock, fluid loss, bacterial infection, breathing problems, and deep scarring.Topical silver sulfadiazine (Silvadene) is the most commonly prescribed standard antimicrobial treatment for burns.

Shop DocTalkGo Dermatology Solutions