Burns – Burnt yourself? Find out how to take off the heat – and heal your skin as fast as possible

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Burns are nasty, but can happen easily while cooking, having a barbecue or when working with fire. Find out all you need to know about burns and how you can treat them effectively.

Burns from 1 to 3: Know the different degrees of burns

Cross section of healthy skin; © Elastoplast
Cross section of burned skin (first to third degree) © Elastoplast

First degree (superficial) burns: these are the lightest degree of burns you can suffer from, and they affect only the epidermis. The burned area is red, slightly swollen, painful, dry, and without blisters. Mild sunburn is an example. Long-term tissue damage from these burns is rare.

Second degree burns: these involve the epidermis and part of the underlying dermis layer of the skin. Often scald injuries or flames cause them. The burn appears red, blistered, swollen and painful.

Third degree burns: third degree burns destroy the epidermis and the dermis and may also even damage the underlying subcutaneous tissue, bones, muscles and tendons. The burn site appears white or charred. There is no sensation in the area since the nerve endings are destroyed.


You can easily get burned, and chances are that whether it is from fire or a domestic heat source, it will happen as fast as lightening and take you by surprise. Following these five steps will help you treat burns effectively. In the case of a third degree burn, seek medical attention immediately. Never attempt to self-treat a third degree burn.

Five steps when treating burns and scalds

Step 1

Move away from the source and secure the danger area first: Switch off electrical appliances, fight flames or remove hot water or source of heat or flames before treating the casualty.
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Step 2

Cool the burnt or scalded area under cold running water for at least ten minutes or until pain subsides. Do not apply ice. Cooling the burn with water is known to relieve pain and to reduce swelling of the skin as well as blister formation.
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Step 3

In the case of a first or second-degree burn, cleanse the wound with the Elastoplast Wound Spray to prevent infections.
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Step 4

Gently dry the affected area.
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Step 5

Help the burn wound to heal by applying a thin film of the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment once or twice per day. Cover with a loose gauze such as the Elastoplast Non-Stick Dressing to protect the affected areas.
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Never put fat or butter onto burns or remove anything that is stuck to the skin, such as clothing. When in doubt, ask for medical advice.

When to seek medical advice:

Even for first and second degree burns you should seek medical advice if the burned area is large or if after initial pain relief the burned area again shows signs of infection such as redness, heat, swelling, pain, itching or burning.

Further, medical attention is necessary if a child is burned, if the burn is on sensitive parts of the body e.g. on the face, or if you have any questions or concerns.

For third-degree burns you should always seek medical attention immediately.



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