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What is Good for Burns? What are the Degrees of Burn?


What is Good for Burns? What are the Degrees of Burn?

Tissue damage caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, radiation and sun is called a burn. Burns usually occur as a result of accidents and have varying degrees. Their degrees vary depending on the depth of the burn and the amount of affected area. Burns are often painful and need to be treated. If left untreated, it can cause infection and lead to different diseases. As a result of correct and regular treatment, first and second degree burns usually heal within 2-3 weeks. This improvement may vary depending on the person’s age and the medications they use. As the degree of burn increases, healing time may take longer. In third-degree burns, physical treatment may be needed to maintain the person’s joint mobility and improve their functions. People with this condition may also experience symptoms of depression (1).

What are the Degrees of Burn?

Burns are among the types of accidents that can cause physical and emotional injury to a person. Factors that can cause burns are divided into degrees depending on how severely they penetrate the skin surface. These degrees are as follows:

  • 1st Degree (Superficial) Burns: 1st degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). The burned area is usually red, painful and blister-free. Long-term tissue damage is rare. Mild sunburn is the best example of this degree of burn.
  • 2nd Degree (Partial Thickness) Burns: 2nd degree burns are the degree of burns that cover part of the skin’s epidermis (outer layer of skin) and dermis (second layer of skin). This degree of burn may cause pain, redness, swelling and blisters.
  • 3rd Degree (Full Thickness) Burns: In 3rd degree burns, the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and dermis (second layer of skin) are severely damaged. Bones, muscles and tendons may also be damaged at this degree of burn. These burns may appear white or charred. Since the nerve endings are damaged, pain is usually not felt and there is loss of sensation in the area (2). In third-degree burns, cardiac arrhythmia, dehydration (liquid loss), edema, organ failure, pneumonia, hypotension (low blood pressure), shock and amputation (amputation) may occur (1).

What are the Types of Burns?

Burns are among the accidents that affect almost all age groups and cause serious injuries. The factors that cause a burn determine the type of burn. There are many types of burns caused by thermal, radiation, chemical and electrical contact. These types of burns are as follows:

  • Thermal Burns: Thermal burns are a type of burn that occurs due to heat sources such as hot metals, boiling liquids, steam and flame. These heat sources increase the temperature of the skin and tissue, causing the cells to die or burn.
  • Radiation Burns: Radiation burns occur due to long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays or radiation-induced rays such as X-rays.
  • Chemical Burns: Chemical burns are burns caused by chemicals used in industry and daily life. It usually occurs as a result of strong acid and alkaline substances. Rarely, phenol and phosphorus contents can also be seen due to petroleum products.
  • Electrical Burns: These are burns caused by electrical currents. This type of burn can cause simple burns that do not require treatment or burns that may require serious treatment (3).

What is Good for Burns?

The best practices for burns that relieve pain are applying a cold compress or keeping the burned area under cold water. Cold compress application can be done for 20-30 minutes. In this way, the pain is relieved and the risk of infection in the burned area is greatly reduced. Other methods that are good for burns are listed as follows:

  • Covering the burn with a single layer of clean stretch wrap or a plastic bag after it has cooled down.
  • Using appropriate painkillers to relieve pain,
  • Using aloe vera gel to prevent the burned area from drying out and keep it moist,
  • Using antibiotic cream on the burned area,
  • Avoid touching the blisters that form in the burned area,
  • Procedures such as protecting the burned area from sun exposure can relieve post-burn pain and shorten the healing time.

If there is any clothing or any piece of cloth in the burn area, it should not be removed and the healthcare professional should wait for intervention. If intervened, more serious injuries may occur. Keeping the burning person warm is also one of the important steps. The person’s body temperature can be maintained with a blanket that does not touch the burn area.

It is possible to treat minor burns at home or intervene in the burn. In more serious burns, it is necessary to consult a nearest healthcare professional before intervening in the burn area. These burns are as follows:

  • chemical burns,
  • Large and deep burns,
  • charred burns,
  • Burns occurring in any joint such as the face, neck, arm, leg, or genital organ must be treated by ambulance or by going to the nearest health institution in person (4).

How to Get Rid of Burn Scars?

Scars after burn care and treatment can be minimized. After the area heals, the scars do not disappear completely. Over time, the color of the scars fades and the appearance of the scars decreases. It is very important to protect the area from sun contact from the moment the burn occurs. In this way, the scar does not get sunburned and becomes less noticeable. Severe burn scars from severe burns can be reduced by:

Laser Treatment

It is one of the frequently preferred methods to reduce the appearance of burn scars. Even if it does not completely eliminate the scar, it can improve redness, swelling, tightness and pigment differences in the area. It can eliminate the disturbing image. There are three types of lasers that are good for burns. These are listed as follows:

  • Fractional Laser: Used to improve redness and even out the bumpy, uneven skin surface.
  • Pulsed Dye Laser: Uses to heal redness and inflammation.
  • Q Switched Laser: Eliminates pigments that may cause unnatural skin color appearance in burn scars.

Scar Massage

Massage applied to the wound area is called scar massage. It prevents the scar in the area from hardening and swelling. The pressure applied in this massage prevents scar tissue from forming and sticking to the underlying tissue.


Z plasty is a surgical procedure performed by surgeons to reduce the appearance and tension of scar tissue and shorten the length of the scar. The goals of this surgical operation are to change the direction of the scar, reduce tension in the scar, and make the scar less noticeable. In this procedure, an incision is made along the scar. Several incisions are then made crossing the incision. Thus, diagonal incisions reduce the length and extent of the burn scar (5).

What should not be done in case of a burn?

Incorrect treatment of a burn may prolong the healing time and increase the amount of scarring. Things not to do in case of a burn are listed as follows:

  • The burn should not be exposed to the sun. For burns exposed to the sun, the healing time takes longer and the scar becomes more visible.
  • Ice should not be used on the burn. Delays healing
  • Oils such as butter, olive oil or grease should not be applied to the burn.
  • The patient’s body temperature is important. In order to prevent the body temperature from falling, it is necessary to avoid getting the whole body wet.

If you or someone close to you is burned, the degree of burn can be determined as given above. For first and second degree burns, that is, mild to moderate burns, the first interventions specified can be performed during the transportation to the healthcare facility. If the person has a third degree burn, it is recommended that he be taken to the nearest health institution without any intervention.

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