What is the difference between 1st degree and 2nd degree burns?

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Jan 26, 2018


The higher the degree of the burn, the more severe it is. Second-degree burns harm the epidermal and dermal layers of skin, while first-degree burns only harm the epidermis.


First-degree Burns
The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin. A first-degree burn can occur from brief contact with something hot, like scalding from hot water. These burns are usually not very painful or severe, and unless they cover a large surface area, do not require emergency medical care. If you get a first-degree burn, place the affected area under cool water. Apply aloe vera or burn ointments afterward, and the wound should heal soon.

Second Degree Burns
Second-degree burns are more severe than first-degree burns, but still don't require emergency medical attention in most cases. They usually harm the epidermis and the layer beneath it, the dermis. Second-degree burns can often cause blisters, which should be bandaged and kept clean.


If you have suffered or think you have suffered a burn, you may want to consult your doctor, not an online forum. The above communications are meant to be educational and do not constitute a doctor-patient relationship.

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