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All About Burns (Not The Poet)

All About Burns

A burn happens when you have tissue damage, usually after contact with heat or extreme cold. We’ll discuss burn symptoms, types, causes, and effective treatment.

Four Types Of Burns

It’s all very simple — the first, second, the third, and the fourth type. 

  • First-degree burns are superficial burns compared to other burns. They cause mild pain and reddening of the epidermis.
  • Second-degree burns are partial-thickness burns that affect the epidermis and the dermis. They cause redness, pain, swelling and blistering.
  • Third-degree burns are full-thickness burns that go through the dermis and affect deeper tissues. You can see white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb.
  • Fourth-degree burns go deeper than third-degree burns and can even affect your muscles and bones, as well as nerve endings. That’s why there’s no feeling in the burned area.

Burn Symptoms

The symptoms you will experience usually depend on the cause and type of burn:

  • 1st-degree burns — red and painful skin with no blisters;
  • 2nd-degree burns — red and painful skin with swelling and blisters;
  • 3rd-degree burns — deep red, white, black or charred skin. They may bring a lot of pain but could be numb;
  • 4th-degree burns — no feeling in the area because the skin tissue is destroyed.

If the burn is serious, some people may go into shock. Its symptoms may include pale and clammy skin, bluish lips and fingernails, weakness, and a drop in alertness.

The first two burn types usually get better on their own, but third- and fourth-degree ones need medical attention right away.

Burn Causes

The most common kinds of burns are thermal. They happen when hot metals, flames, scalding liquids, or steam come into contact with your skin. Other things that can cause burns include:

  • Friction;
  • Radiation;
  • Heated objects;
  • Electricity;
  • Chemicals;
  • The sun.

There is also an ice burn which occurs when your skin comes into direct contact with ice or something very cold for an extended period of time.

How Burns Heal

Minor burns (the first and second types) heal much the same way cuts do. Often a blister forms on the injured area. Under the blister, white blood cells arrive to attack the bacteria, and a new skin layer grows around the edges of the burn.

It can be dangerous if your burn is very large or goes very deep. The new skin cannot appear quickly enough to keep the bacteria out, and infection usually develops. During the healing process, expect the following:

Burn Scars

Scarring on a body joint due to the ongoing healing process can limit movement of that area of the body. This occurs because your body responds to the loss of skin by making your wound smaller. The skin on both sides of the joint grows together and heals the injured area. It is possible to gain back motion through therapy.

Post-Burn Sensations

When a burn injury damages the nerve endings in the skin, your nerves will need to regrow. The sense of touch may be affected throughout this regrowth period. Because the touch sensation is experienced through the skin, the areas that have nerve damage may be less sensitive to touch.


It occurs when the burn is deep, and the healing elements of the skin are destroyed and are not available to cover the wound. The body typically closes the wound by drawing on the surrounding skin. It actually becomes smaller as the wound heals. The contraction process results in the loss of normal movement in the affected area. However, rehabilitation therapy restores near-normal movement to the contracted areas.


A burn injury may result in the damage of sweat glands and blood vessels on the skin. Since the blood vessels are surrounded by scar tissue, they cannot expand and contract properly. Sweat glands can’t make moisture on the skin. Because of these changes in the sweat glands, abnormal sweating and itching are often encountered as burn injuries finish healing.

Different Skin Colour After A Burn Injury

The area of burned skin may become red and inflamed. This redness will gradually decrease as the skin matures (may take up to 18 months).

Burn Treatment

The treatment depends on the burn type.

Degree 1, 2 and 3

Third-degree burns need intensive treatment, such as intravenous (IV) antibiotics to prevent infection or IV fluids to replace the fluids lost when your skin was burned. 

Second-degree burns may be treated with antibiotic creams and ointments prescribed by a doctor.

First-degree burns might be treated with various skincare products, as well as the other burn types after the healing process has already taken place and new skin has appeared. These skin products will help you to fade burn scars:

  • Aloe vera gel. It is packed with a number of biologically active compounds like enzymes, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Vitamins A, C, and E act as antioxidants preventing free radicals from causing damage to molecules in the body. Enzymes reduce inflammation from skin contracture and wound repair. Fatty acids, like campesterol and lupeol, are linked to anti-inflammatory activities in the body. Laxatives give the plant antibacterial properties.
  • Cannabidiol. While there are ways to reap potential benefits of this compound, different CBD topicals from brands like Kinsella are a great option for localised relief. Also known as CBD, many individuals use CBD oil for anxiety, sleep or focus. But it also might help with pain relief and can heal skin burns faster due to its promising antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD has no psychoactive effects, unlike THC, and it produces therapeutic effects without intoxication. Cannabis compounds will not enter the bloodstream unless you are placing them on an open wound. When CBD topicals are applied to scars or other closed-skin injuries, these compounds will stay on top of the skin.

Degree 4

  • Call an emergency.
  • Make sure to take the person away from the cause of the burn. 
  • Check if the person is breathing. If not, start mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Take off the clothes and jewellery that might keep them from moving freely.
  • Cover the burned area with a cool and clean washcloth or a slightly wet bandage.
  • Raise the burnt area above heart level if you can.
  • See if there are any signs of shock (fainting or dizziness, pale skin). If you notice any, try raising their feet and legs a bit.

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