Most of us know what it feels like to get a minor burn or scald. Whether we stayed out in the sun a bit too long, spilled a splash of our morning coffee on our lap, or accidentally touched our hand with our flat iron, even small burns can be quite painful. If you’ve found yourself wondering how to get some relief from minor burns, there are must-do things you need to know to help speed up your recovery and soothe your wound. Check out 9 home remedies for minor burns and scalds.
Burns and Scalds 101
Minor burns, or first degree burns, affect only the skin’s surface and often result in redness, swelling and mild pain. They can happen anywhere on the body and are caused by overexposure to the sun, hot water or hot objects.
Burns and scalds both cause damage to the skin due to heat. A burn is caused by dry heat, such as a stovetop or fire, and a scald is caused by wet heat, like a cup of tea or steam from kettles.
Large or deep burns can become infected, which can lead to an infection in the bloodstream- a serious condition called sepsis. Serious burns can also cause a loss of fluid from the body and lead to dangerously low body temperature.
When to See a Doctor
First degree burns typically heal within seven to ten days, however if your burns cover a large area of skin or are on your face, groin or a major joint, you should see a doctor. You should also seek medical attention if there are areas of whiteness in the burned area, large blisters or large areas of skin loss, or pain that can’t be controlled by over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen. You should also look out for signs of infection that signal you need medical attention:
- Increased pain
- Increased redness
- Swelling or oozing from the burn site
9 Home Remedies for Minor Burns
1. Cold Compress
If you get burned, immediately immerse the affected area under cool tap water and let it sit for a few minutes. Then apply a cold, wet compress. This will cool the skin, soothe the burn and help prevent pain. It also prevents the burn from getting worse and damaging deeper layers of skin. Leave the compress on for 20 minutes for quick relief. Don’t apply ice as it can make the burn worse.
2. Clean the Burn
It’s important to clean your burn to prevent any sort of infection. If an infection develops it can get in the way of the healing process and can also lead to serious problems. After running your burn under cold water and using a cold compress, clean the burn gently with a mild antibacterial soap. Avoid scrubbing the area, rinse the soap off and dry thoroughly.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory and contains active compounds that can help reduce pain and stimulate skin growth and repair. It’s also super moisturizing, helping to heal your skin. Apply organic aloe vera gel to your burn and cover it with a bandage. Aloe is best used for minor burns, and should never be applied to an open wound.
Honey has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains antioxidants, all of which can be super beneficial to heal a mild burn. You can apply honey directly to the burn or soak it in gauze before application. Make sure to use unprocessed, undiluted honey to treat your burn.
With anti-inflammatory properties, calendula promotes healing by moisturizing and soothing minor burns. It’s often used in ointments and salves as a soothing agent, but you can also apply calendula oil to the skin. Thanks to its high content of vitamins, it promotes tissue healing and increases elasticity of the skin.
6. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal is used to alleviate symptoms of a broad range of skin conditions, including eczema, severe dry skin and mild burns. It can help soothe your skin, especially if the burn has led to dry skin or itchiness. Use it to make a soothing bath or add it to a small bowl of water and soak the affected area.
7. Practice Sun Safety
If you have a burn, it’s best to stay out of the sun so you don’t make it worse. This will help reduce pain and lessen the risk of increasing or deepening the burn. If avoiding the sun isn’t possible, wear a bandage over the burn and loose-fitting clothing that covers the burn wound.
8. Remove Any Clothing or Jewelry
The last thing you want is your clothing or jewelry rubbing against your burn. This can lead to more pain, can make the burn deeper or even lead to a cut that could become infected. Also keep in mind that burned skin can swell, so take off any jewelry, especially rings.
9. Plastic Wrap
After the burn has cooled, you can cover it with plastic wrap to prevent infection by keeping the area clean. It won’t stick to the burn and will help reduce pain by keeping air from the skin’s surface. Layer the film over the burn instead of wrapping the limb for best results.
You don’t need to be too concerned about a minor burn. As long as it’s small and on the surface, these home remedies will help soothe and heal your skin.
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