SKIN BURNS AND
HOW TO HEAL THEM FASTER
Burns are a skin injury caused by extreme heat. They can also be caused by chemicals, radiation, friction and even cold. When skin is exposed to extreme heat, it constituent proteins become denatured, as though “cooked” and skin cells die, resulting in an inflammatory response.
If you have a superficial burn, first run it under the cold tap for several minutes, then apply a burn or skin healing cream from the pharmacy followed by a sterile dressing. For several weeks after the burn, while the skin is healing, it will be fragile and sensitive and require care from specific dermo-cosmetics such as a skin healing cream with a strong SPF in order to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Burns can be divided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns depending on their depth. 1st degree burns are very superficial, causing redness like sunburn. 2nd degree burns are deeper and cause blistering and intense pain. 3rd degree burns are “full-thickness” and destroy the nerve fibres in the skin, making them painless. The skin becomes waxy white or charred and can look thickened and leathery. 1st and 2nd degree burns can be managed at home with burn creams and sterile dressings as long as they are not extensive and do not affect the face or a major joint. 3rd degree burns require urgent medical attention.
1st degree burns rarely cause scars. 2nd degree burns do risk scarring, especially if they get infected, but with proper hygiene, a skin healing cream and a sterile dressing, you can minimise the risk of scarring. 3rd degree burns will almost always leave some kind of scar on the skin, but this can be minimised by seeking medical attention as early as possible to receive the proper treatment.