First Aid

How to Treat Minor Burns First Aid

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

Burning your hand while curling your hair or accidentally touching a hot pan is a common phenomenon. While these burns are not that severe, still these minor burns can lead to infections if not treated correctly and right away. Hence, you should know how to treat minor burns with first aid. 

This blog will give you a complete idea about the different types of burns and how to treat minor burns, and you will also learn when to seek emergency medical care.

Without any further ado, let’s get started! 

Nurse giving first aid to a burn injury

First Degree Burns

Burns are tissue damage to the skin, which can be from dry heat, for example, from the touch of a hot curl iron or a fire. Scalds, on the other hand, are tissue damages cause by something wet such as hot liquids, steam etc. Whilst being different, both burns and scalds can be treated in the same way. 

Now, there are certain levels of severity when it comes to burns. For instance, minor burns are commonly known as First Degree Burns. First-degree burns are pretty frequent and cause damage to the top layer of the tissue. Although it is not as severe as a second or third-degree burn, it is still quite painful.  

Some of the effects of minor burns include the following:

  • Swelling
  • Red skin
  • Blisters 
  • Peeling of skin

Since minor burns are not that severe, it is definitely treatable through first aid. However, if pain persists or you see any adverse effects, you should definitely seek medical attention. 

Types of Burns

Burns, generally, can be categorised into four types. These are  –

Type of BurnDescription
Superficial Epidermal Burn-The epidermis is damaged
-The skin is red and swollen
-No blisters formed
Superficial Dermal Burn-The epidermis and part of the dermis are damaged
-The skin is pale pink and swollen
-Small blisters formed
Deep Dermal or Partial Thickness Burn-The epidermis and the dermis are damaged
-The skin turns red, swollen and blotchy
-The skin may become dry or moist
-Blisters formed
Full Thickness Burn-All three layers of the skin are damaged
-The tissue underneath becomes pale and blackened
-The skin will be brown, white or black
No blisters formed
-Skin texture becomes waxy/leathery

Treating Burns Through First Aid

The first thing to do to treat minor burns would be to stop the burning. To ensure this, you should go away from the heat source as soon as possible. If you are helping someone, then be careful not to burn yourself! 

Doctor applying ointment on the burnt arm

The next thing you should do is remove any form of clothing or jewellery from the affected area. After that, certain first aid measures could be taken, such as – 

Cool the Burn With Cool Water

Place the burned area under running cool water or lukewarm water for at least 20 minutes to help with the burning sensation. This will help reduce the swelling and also avoid the risk of scarring.

Keep in mind never to use any ice cubes or iced water. Also, avoid any kind of greasy substances such as butter.

The Person Burnt Warm

It is necessary to keep the person burnt warm. In order to do so, you can use blankets or layers of clothes; however, avoid direct contact with the injured area. This process will prevent the person from hypothermia.     

Cover the Burn After Cooling

When the burnt area has been cooled down, cover the area with a cling film or a clean plastic bag. This will mainly help you with any possible infection. Moreover, since the plastic won’t stick to the burned skin, it will also help to reduce pain. 

Take Medicines if necessary

You could take some necessary painkillers, such as ibuprofen, paracetamol or aspirin. However, you are strongly advised to consult a doctor before taking any strong medication. 

Moreover, do not apply ointments to the injured region yet, as it can cause infection, and children under 16 should definitely steer clear of aspirin! 

With the help of the above steps mentioned, you can easily treat minor burns through first aid; however, if the pain still persists, you should definitely go see a doctor. 

On the contrary, if you are suffering from severe burns such as a chemical or acid burn, you should dial 999 immediately and seek emergency care. 

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When to Seek Emergency Care

After following all the mentioned steps, it is totally up to you to decide whether or not you need further medical attention. Although, you should definitely go to a hospital if you get an acid or chemical burn. 

A nurse covering the burnt area with a cling fling

Other scenarios when you should undoubtedly seek emergency care include the following – 

  • For burns on the face, neck, genitals, joints, feet and hands.
  • For large or deep burns concerning all layers of skin.
  • For burns that make your skin white and charred.
  • If any young children under the age of 10 are burnt.
  • A person with any medical condition (heart or lung disease, diabetes etc.) and weak immune system due to HIV or chemotherapy. 

Depending on the type of burns, you should know whether you need emergency care from a professional.  

The Takeaway

Many people tend to leave minor burns, such as burns from the stove, straightener etc., unattended; as a result, the skin gets scarred. However, thankfully, with this blog’s help, you now know how to treat minor burns with first aid. Now you can help out anyone with a first-degree burn. Moreover, always remember to keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach and keep them away from the kitchen.


Does toothpaste prevent burns?

No, toothpaste does not prevent burns, but remember never to use it for minor or any burns; it might worsen things.

How many days burn skin take to heal?

According to, minor burn skin usually takes up to 14 days to heal; however, it is not healed completely. On the other hand, mild burns take only up to a week to recover.

Do burn scars fade?

While burns with severe damage create permanent scars as deep layers of the skin are affected. Although, minor burns that affect only the outer layer of the skin do not cause any permanent damage as scar tissues heal over time.

Can I put vaseline on a burn?

Yes, you can put vaseline or aloe vera on a burn but a thin layer in the form of an ointment!

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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.