Burns: pictures of types and symptoms

Read on lớn learn how to identify the degree of your burn, how lớn treat it, và when to lớn seek medical attention.

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Note: This article contains graphic images of burns.

If you've ever experienced a sunburn or scalded yourself in the kitchen, you need khổng lồ know some basic burn first aid — & when to see a doctor for your sunburn.

First, some burn basics. "The degree of a burn is determined by what layers of the skin it involves, i.e. How deep it goes," Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist in thành phố new york City, tells daichiensk.com. Ahead, we'll break down everything you need to lớn know about burns (sunburns and beyond), including how to lớn identify the degree of your burn, how khổng lồ treat it, và when to lớn seek medical attention, if so needed.

How khổng lồ Identify the Degree of Your Burn

First-degree burns are the least severe. In fact, you've probably had at least a few of them, as a sunburn is a classic example, Abigail Chaffin, a board-certified plastic surgeon và burn specialist, tells daichiensk.com. "A first-degree burn is a burn that involves only the outer layer of skin (called the epidermis) typically involving redness, peeling, and pain, but no blistering or breaks in the skin," she explains.


Courtesy of C. Scott Hultman, MD/ American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Once a burn starts khổng lồ blister, it's classified as a second-degree burn. "A second-degree burn involves the second layer of the skin called the dermis," Chaffin explains. In addition khổng lồ the blisters, these burns are more painful — và more worrisome. "With second-degree burns, there is risk of secondary infection & scarring, especially with a deeper second-degree burn," according lớn Shah.

Then there are the seriously severe burns, classified as third-degree. "These burns reach completely through the skin và into the fat, muscle, và nerves below," Chaffin explains. "It's a major injury." In these cases, the skin can literally appear charred (either đen or white) and leathery. Since these burns can destroy the nerves, they might not actually be painful, despite their severity, according to lớn the Mayo Clinic.

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How to Treat Each Kind of Burn

"Third-degree burns should always be treated in a burn center," says Chaffin. For these burns, surgery is required lớn remove the damaged tissue and graft new, healthy skin onto the wound, she explains. For the first- and second-degree burns you're much more likely khổng lồ encounter after forgetting your SPF, treatment is a lot simpler.

"If you develop a sunburn, treat the skin from the outside in và the inside out," Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic & clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in new york City, tells daichiensk.com. Immediately after you burn, he recommends using a cold milk compress khổng lồ help bring down any swelling & soothe any pain. địa chỉ skim milk lớn a bowl with ice & soak a washcloth in it — then apply khổng lồ your burn. "Proteins from the milk coat, calm, & soothe the skin," explains Zeichner.

Contrary to what many non-doctors tend lớn believe, Chaffin advises skipping the ice. Even though it sounds tempting, she warns that this can actually damage the tissue more.


Courtesy of C. Scott Hultman, MD/ American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Gently cleansing your skin after a first- or second-degree burn is also important. The key word here though is gently, Zeichner stresses. "Especially after leaving the beach, you may want khổng lồ scrub the skin khổng lồ remove dirt, sand, oil, và sunscreen," he explains. "But overly scrubbing the skin, which is already weakened from a sunburn, can cause more harm than good."

To safely clean your burn stay away from any exfoliating cleansers & harsh soaps, which have an alkaline pH và can be irritating, Zeichner explains. "Instead look for gentle, hydrating, soap-free cleansers like Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing toàn thân Wash that effectively cleanse the skin và hydrate at the same time — without causing more damage khổng lồ the outer skin layer."

Finally, you want to lớn make sure lớn keep scorched skin moist. Since a burn disrupts the skin barrier, it can become extra dry & sensitive as it heals. The remedy? Keep it moist with aloe vera gel or a light petroleum-based lotion. Zeichner recommends Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion to lớn help seal in moisture.

For a mild second-degree burn, you can treat it pretty much the same way you would a first-degree burn. But as it heals, the experts say it's important khổng lồ pay closer attention khổng lồ spot signs of infection. You have to lớn be especially careful with the blisters. "If the blister is large, and you feel up to lớn it, you can try to lớn drain it," says Zeichner.

To vày this, grab some rubbing alcohol and sterilize the blister & surrounding skin. Using a sewing needle, which should also be sterilized with rubbing alcohol, gently poke the side of the blister, Zeichner says. Gently press on the blister khổng lồ drain the fluid. After you pop the blister, apply an antibiotic cream and, whatever you do, make sure not lớn rip any of this skin off. This can up your chances of infection.

"Since second-degree burns are more severe, I recommend a heavier ointment to lớn protect the sensitive or blistered skin," Zeichner says. Try CeraVe Healing Ointment. With a more serious second-degree burn — one that covers a large area, is incredibly blistered or painful, or is in a tough to treat position such as your hand or the back of your legs — see a doctor.

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