The Three Types of Burns and How to Treat Them


You or a family member may get burns as a result of fires or other accidents in your house. These circumstances frequently occur at the most inconvenient times. Burns are a global public health issue that kills an estimated 1,80,000 people each year. Non-fatal burns are a primary source of morbidity, with consequences such as extended disfigurement. Take time now, though, to be prepared and know what to do if someone in your house is burned.


hand burn from fire hot
Credit: MedIndia


What are burns?

Thermal, electrical, chemical, or electromagnetic energy causes burns, which are painful wounds. For older persons, smoking and using an open flame are the primary causes of burn injuries. Children's burn injuries are most commonly caused by scalding. Infants and the elderly are the most vulnerable to burn injuries.


The Three Layers of Skin

three layers of skin



There are three layers to the skin:

1. The epidermis (outermost layer of skin) determines our skin tone and serves as a waterproof barrier.

2. Hair follicles and sweat glands are found beneath the epidermis in the dermis.

3. The hypodermis (deeper subcutaneous tissue) is made up of fat and connective tissue.


Types of Burns


three types of burns on arm

Credit: Natalya_Kalyatina


1. First-Degree Burns(Superficial Burns)


What Are First-Degree Burns?


A superficial burn or wound is another name for a first-degree burn. It's a wound that damages your skin's initial layer. First-degree burns are among the most minor types of skin injuries, and they rarely require medical attention.

Some superficial burns, on the other hand, might be quite severe and painful, necessitating a trip to the doctor. Only the outer layer of skin is affected by first-degree burns.

There are no blisters on the burn site, which is red and dry. A good example is a little sunburn. Long-term tissue damage is uncommon and usually manifests itself as a change in skin pigmentation.



  • Cool it: Immerse the burn in cold tap water or apply cold, moist compresses right away. Carry on like this for about 10 minutes, or until the pain goes away.

  • Clean the burned area gently with water and gentle soap.

  • Use Petroleum Jelly: Two to three times a day, use petroleum jelly. Applying ointments and toothpaste on the burn could lead to infection. Topical antibiotics should not be used.

  • Cover the Burn With a Sterile Non-Stick Bandage: Blisters should not be popped and touched.

  • Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers Into Consideration: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can aid with pain relief and inflammation reduction.

  •  The Region Should Be Shielded From the Sun:  Once the burn has healed, seek shade, wear protective clothing, or apply a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to the affected region. Because the redness from a burn can last for weeks, especially in people with darker skin tones, this will help decrease scarring.

2. Second-Degree Burns


What Are Second-Degree Burns?


The epidermis and a portion of the dermis layer of the skin are affected by second-degree burns. The burned area appears red, blistering, and painful.

Both the epidermis and the second layer of skin are affected by this form of burn. Swelling and red or blotchy skin are possible side effects. Blisters can form which can be excruciatingly painful. Scarring can result from second-degree burns. A second-degree burn is more serious damage since it is deeper.




  • Before you clean a burn, make sure you wash your hands. Because open blisters are often infected, do not touch the burn with your hands or anything dirty.
  • Remove any clothing, jewelry, or anything that may be covering the burn. They may be heated, which will continue to burn the skin and make the burn worse. Leave garments on if it is not possible to remove it without harming the skin.
  • Run cool, but not cold water over the burn to relieve it. Ice should not be applied to the burn.
  • To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water or electrolyte solutions.
  • Gauze or a loose dressing can be used to cover the burn. Wrapping the cover too firmly can cut off circulation.
  • Blisters should not be broken open.
  • Applying butter or other home treatments to a burn should be avoided, especially right after it has occurred.
  • A bandage may not be required if the burned skin or blisters have not split open. Apply a bandage if the burned skin or unbroken blisters are prone to become soiled or irritated by clothing.
  • A bandage is required if the burned skin or blisters have split open. Apply a clean bandage if your bandage becomes wet or soiled to help avoid infection. If a bandage has become stuck to a burn, immerse it in warm water to help you remove it.
  • To avoid placing pressure on the injured skin, wrap the burn loosely.

3. Third-Degree Burns


What Are Third-Degree Burns?


The fat layer beneath the epidermis is affected by this burn. Areas that have been burned can be black, brown, or white. The skin may appear to be leathery.

Nerves can be destroyed in third-degree burns causing numbness. All three layers of the skin are affected by third-degree burns. Third-degree burns are far more serious and require immediate medical intervention.




Any third-degree burn, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), necessitates rapid hospitalization and treatment. Individuals who get this sort of burn are usually treated in a burn unit.

People should seek medical help as soon as possible after suffering a third-degree burn. While waiting for medical help, a person with a third-degree burn can cover the region with a sterile bandage, seek to separate fingers and toes if burned, and, if possible, raise the burned part above the heart if they are out of harm's way.

The type of treatment a person receives is determined by the degree, location, and extent of the burn. The type of treatment a person receives is determined on the origin of the burn as well as their overall health.

The following treatments may be used:

  • Surgery: To remove burned tissue from the burn site, third-degree burns usually necessitate repeated procedures.
  • Skin Grafts: A skin graft is frequently required since third-degree burns do not heal on their own. Natural skin grafts, artificial skin products, and laboratory-grown skin may all be used by a clinician.
  • Intravenous fluids: Some patients may require more fluids to keep their blood pressure stable and avoid shock.
  • Medication: To prevent infection and relieve pain, a person will most likely be given a variety of medications, including antibiotics and pain relievers.
  • Tetanus injection: Tetanus germs are more prone to cause infections through burn wounds, so a tetanus shot may be given to avoid infection.


Accidental burns do occur. To avoid infection and scarring, all deep burns must be treated. The most serious sort of burn is third-degree burns, which can be fatal. First and second-degree burns, on the other hand, can be more painful. If you or a loved one has a blistering burn, seek medical help as soon as possible. Consult your doctor about strategies to reduce your family's risk of unintentional burns.

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