Small Burns

​Treating Simple or Small Burns

​​​​Simple burns are described as burns that occur with very short duration exposure to a heat source and cover no more than the total body area equivalent to one hand. Simple burns typically cause redness of the skin and may have a few blister, no bigger than a quarter dollar coin. There will be no bleeding, no brown or black discolorations, and NO loss of pain sensation in the area of the burn. Sunburn on the shoulders with redness but no blistering is an example of a simple burn.

Burns That Need Professional Attention: 

  • Any burn to the hands, face, buttocks, or groin areas
  • ​Any burn from a high heat source that is more than 3 inches in diameter
  • Burns that are black or brown in color, or have no pain associated but look severe
  • Burns that become painful, smelly, or oozing
  • Any burn you think might be third degree or causes you concern

​Proper Treatment for a Simple Burn: 

  1. Cool Water​ -The first thing you should do ​after ​any burn is run cool, clean water over the burn area for about 20 minutes. Cool water is better than Cold water. Ice water or cold water can cause more irritation, so cool is best; then wash the area with soap and water. 
  2. Apply a cool compress or clean wet cloth over the area to help relieve pain and swelling at 10 minute intervals. Ice should not be applied to the burn as it may irritate the burn area more. 
  3. Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment or cream and cover with a sterile dressing. 
  4. Aloe Vera is effective in healing first and second degree burns and may also be used over the area. It can work well as an anti-inflammatory, promote circulation, and inhibits the growth of bacteria. ​​​
  5. Honey also has medicinal purposes and scientific evidence of assisting in healing simple burns when applied topically. Honey is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal as well. 
  6. Reduce sun exposure. Burned skin is very sensitive to sunlight, so it's important to keep it covered
  7. Don't pop any blisters that form. Blisters offer protection and popping them increases the chances of infection. 
  8. Take an over the counter pain medication. Advil or naproxen works better than acetaminophen alone due to anti-inflammatory properties. 


  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Egg whites
  • toothpaste
  • ​Cooking oils
  • Ice

These "home remedies" are actually harmful to burns and can cause further complications including infection and greater skin damage. Butter, oils, and mayonnaise all cause heat retention and harbor bacteria that cause infections.

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