Understanding Skin & How To Treat 1st, 2nd & 3rd Degree Burns

Skin, the body’s largest organ, has three layers.

Your skin is nearly 3,000 square inches in size. 

  1. Outer layer protects the sensitive, living tissue underneath. When it becomes dry and cracked, irritants can easily pass through.
  2. Second layer is the growth layer that replaces cells in the surface layer.
  3. Third level is a layer of tissue containing nerves, blood vessels and glands to produce sweat and lubricating oils that protect the surface. This layer also acts as a temperature-regulating device for your body.

PDM Plumbing, Heating, Cooling ContractorSkin Problems

  • When the top layer is damaged, irritants can penetrate to deeper layers.
  • Mild irritation involves the surface and growth layers
  • Major skin damage involves all three layers.
  • When irritation persists the skin protects itself with thicker skin.
    But this thicker layer is more likely to crack.
  • Protect your skin from becoming dry, cracked. Use hand lotion.
  • Avoid cleaning your skin with solvents. Wear work gloves to protect your skin.

Do you know how to treat burns?

Third degree burns – extremely serious, call 911.

The most serious burns involve all layers of the skin and underlying fat. Muscle and even bone may be affected.

Symptoms: Burned areas may be charred black or white. Most serious burns are painless and cause permanent tissue damage. Difficulty breathing, carbon monoxide poisoning, other toxic effects, if smoke inhalation also occurred

  1. Call 911 for help. Until help arrives follow these steps.
  2. Protect the burned person from further harm. Do not try to remove clothing stuck to skin, make sure not in contact to heat.
  3. Remove jewelry, belts and other restrictive itemsespecially from around burned areas and the neck. Burned areas swell rapidly.
  4. Check for signs of circulation. Look for breathing, coughing or movement. Begin CPR if needed.
  5. Do not immerse in cold water. Doing so could cause a serious loss of body heat (hypothermia) or a drop in blood pressure and decreased blood flow (shock).
  6. Cover the area of the burn. Use a cool, moist, sterile bandage, or clean towel.
  7. Elevate burned area above heart. Do not move unless needed.

Second degree burns need careful attention

Symptom – skin is red, white or splotchy, blistered; causes severe pain and swelling. If the second-degree burn is no larger than 3 inches in diameter, treat it as a minor burn. If larger or covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint, treat it as a major burn and get medical help immediately.

  1. Cool the burn. Hold burn under cool running water five or more minutes to relieve pain.
  2. Remove jewelry, belts and other restrictive itemsespecially from around burned areas and the neck. Burned areas swell rapidly.
  3. Do not use ice; can cause frostbite and damage your skin, cause a serious loss of body heat (hypothermia) or a drop in blood pressure and decreased blood flow (shock).
  4. Do not apply butter or ointments to burn. Could prevent proper healing.
  5. Don’t break blisters. Broken blisters are vulnerable to infection.
  6. Cover the area of the burn. Use a cool, moist, sterile bandage, or clean towel.
  7. Elevate burned area above heart. Do not move unless needed.

First degree minor burns need proper first aid

A first-degree burn is the least serious type, involving only the outer layer of skin. Symptom – skin is red, swelling and painful sometimes.

  1. Cool the burn. Hold under cool, not cold, running water for 10 to 15 minutes. Or apply a clean towel dampened with cool tap water.
  2. Remove jewelry or other tight items from the burned area. Try to do this quickly and gently, before the area swells.
  3. Do not use ice on  burn. Cover with clean cloth or dressing.
  4. Take aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain. Can apply moisturizer or aloe vera lotion or gel for pain relief.
  5. Do not break small blisters (no bigger than your little fingernail). If blisters break, gently clean the area with mild soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage.See your doctor if you develop large blisters.  Large blisters are best removed, as they rarely will remain intact on their own.
  6. Seek medical help if the burn covers a large area of the body or if you notice signs of infection, such as oozing from the wound and increased pain, redness and swelling.

Mayo Clinic