How To Heal A Burn Fast: 2nd Degree Burn Home Treatment Remedies For Faster Healing Time
According to statistics, burns are ranked as fifth in the leading causes of deaths due to accidents, with an estimated death rate of about 3500 persons yearly.
A burn is any injury to the skin (or body tissues) that arises due to exposure to heat, chemicals, or radiation.
Burns are generally classified according to the level or extent of damage done to the skin. The more severe a burn is, the higher is the degree. Basically, there are three degrees of burn categorized as: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns. Sometimes, the burn can go very deep, even into the bone tissues; this type of burn is called a fourth-degree burn. Since we are considering remedies for second-degree burns, our focus would be on this class of degree
What are second-degree burns?
Second-degree burns refer to any type of burn that affects the epidermis (outer skin layer) and part or all of the dermis (inner). This type of burns are marked by redness and swelling of the outer skin, with blisters also appearing.
A brief explanation of the other categories of burns is seen below.
First-degree burns: Burns of this type only affect the epidermis and are the least severe.
Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns affect the three layers of the skin: the epidermis or outer skin layer, the dermis or inner skin, and the hypodermis or subcutaneous layer. These burns are more severe than the second-degree burns.
Fourth-degree burns: This type of burns is the most severe. Fourth-degree burns affect all layers of the skin and eat into the bones and joints.
Causes of second-degree burns
Second-degree burns can be caused by any source of heat such as the sun, chemicals, flames, hot water, and electricity.
Symptoms of second-degree burns
Common symptoms of second—degree burns are:
- Deep redness of the skin surrounding the burned area
- Swelling of the skin
- Blisters on the skin
- Whiteness or discoloration of the affected skin
Home remedies for second-degree burns
Depending on the degree of burn, different remedies can be used. And while there are many treatment methods for second-degree burns, some may not be effective and can instead lead to more damage. Following are some effective home remedies for second-degree burns:
- Run the burn under water: This should be the first step in treating any time of burn. Second-degree burns can be soothed by running them under cool water, especially during the first day. Doing this for about 20 minutes helps to prevent the burn from eating into the skin as well as in alleviating the pain. Note that the water should be cool and not frozen.
- Clean the burn: This should be done after running the burn under cool water. Cleaning the burn with an antiseptic soap will help to prevent the burn from infection.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce any swelling associated with burns. In addition, the antibacterial properties of this herb will help in preventing any bacterial infection or activity. Get an aloe vera stem and scoop its gel to apply on the burn.
- Yellow mustard: Mustard seeds have a high amount of isothiocyanate, which are helpful in alleviating pain and improving blood circulation. To make this remedy, blend a tablespoon of yellow mustard seeds with half a teaspoon of warm water. After blending, apply the paste on the burn. This should be done at least three times every day until the wound is completely healed.
- Vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is the source of the liquid’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Mix some vinegar with water in equal parts and apply to the burned skin. Since vinegar is a volatile liquid, leave the liquid to vaporize. You should repeat this process two more times each day.
- Tea bags: Who would have thought that used tea bags could be of any good use? Well, they are. Applying wet and used tea bags to burns on the skin can help to cure the burn. This is because tea contains antioxidants, including tannic acid which is decalescent (heat-absorbing) in nature. Based on this, the tea bags help to reduce pain.
- Over-the-counter medications: NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen can be given to someone with burned skin. These drugs help to reduce swelling and pain associated with burns.
- Cool compress: Instead of running the burn under cool water, you can use a cool compress – clean cloth soaked in water and subsequently squeezed. Placing a cool compress at intervals of 15 minutes is a simple home care remedy for first-degree and second-degree burns. And like the previous method, ensure that the water is not cold to prevent cold burns.
- Baking soda: Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can help in treating second-degree burns. This common kitchen ingredient works by restoring pH balance of the skin and in preventing infection. For this remedy, you will have to mix a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of water to form a paste. Gently rubbing the paste on the burn and leaving for about 15 minutes before washing with warm water is an effective home remedy.
- Avoid sunlight: It is advisable that you avoid exposing the burnt skin to sunlight, as this will only worsen the situation. When you have a burn and you need to stay under the sun, ensure that you cover the burn.
- Use antibiotic creams: To prevent burn wounds from infection, you should get an antibiotic cream on the wounds. This method also has the added advantage of promoting healing.
- Aluminum foil: Applying the lustrous part of an aluminum foil on burned skin and leaving for about half an hour is a non-conventional method of reducing burn pain. While the pain may increase initially, the pain should subside after a while.
- Milk: The high protein and zinc contents of milk are beneficial in treating second-degree burns. Applying a quarter cup of cold milk on burnt skin and leaving for up to 15 minutes will help to quicken the healing process. Don’t forget to wash off with water, and repeat the process intermittently until the pain subsides.
- Salt: Applying salt (mixed with a few drops of water) to burned skin is another home care treatment for second-degree burns. The underlying reason is that table salt (sodium chloride) is a natural healing agent and possesses antimicrobial properties.
- Oats: Oats contain several compounds such as avenanthramides, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Aside from this, other antioxidants like vitamin E in oats work together to relieve burn pain and stimulate healing. Steep some oats in warm water for about 30 minutes and soak the burned skin in the water for about 15 minutes. This should be done at least two times each day until the burn is gone.
- Honey: Like aloe vera, honey also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying honey on burn wounds will help to soothe the pain and keep the wound free from infection. Moreover, honey is a natural healer and is used in stimulating healing in wounds.
- Do not burst the blisters: Second-degree burns usually come with blisters. While it might be tempting to pop the bleb, it is better not to do it.
- Lavender oil: While there is some controversy regarding the efficacy of essential oil in the treatment of burns, some hospitals recommend the use of lavender essential oil. Lavender oil contains helpful compounds that are responsible for oil analgesic and healing properties. There are even anecdotal reports that suggest that lavender oil ointment can be an effective remedy for second-degree burns.
- Tea tree oil: Like lavender essential oil, tea tree oil can also be used in treating second-degree burns. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties for treating burns. It is important to state however, that you may need to mix the oil with a carrier oil like olive oil to prevent skin irritation. So applying a few drops of tea tree oil on burned skin every day can help to heal the wound.
Other home remedies that may help in treating second-degree burns
There are several other home remedies that can be considered when treating second-degree burns. The following are some unverified or controversial methods of treating second-degree burns:
- Egg whites: Although this is a popular home remedy for burns, there is little evidence supporting the use of egg whites as remedy for burns. That said, this method involves the use of uncooked egg, with the yolk removed, on burned skin.
- Toothpaste: The use of toothpaste as a home remedy for burns is another subject of controversy. While some reports suggest that rubbing minty toothpaste over burned skin will aid in healing, others disapprove. The group that agrees with this method pin the belief on the fact that toothpaste has an emollient effect on the skin, thereby, reducing pain. The opposing group opine that toothpaste may be unsterile, which may lead to skin irritation.
- Butter: This is another common home remedy employed by people. However, with limited evidence and the fact that butter can trap heat, this might not be as effective as most people believe.
As far as the wound is clean and free from infection, second-degree burns should heal in about 3 weeks. Trying any of the above-mentioned home remedies can help to hasten the wound-healing process. Moreover, first- and second-degree burns usually require no medical treatment as they are not as severe as the other types.
However, if there are no improvements in the symptoms of the burn, you should visit a doctor.