How To Heal A Second-Degree Burn

The first part of the blog is the story of how my skin got burned. The second part, “The Healing Process” is where you can find information about healing burns.

Warning: This blog post contains graphic photos of burnt skin.

Update from October 26, 2013: This blog now includes the most recent photo of the burn. It’s a picture from one year and three months later. 

This past summer I got a second-degree burn on my thigh while I was at my favorite music festival. It was horrifying and upsetting as it happened, but I was more concerned with making sure I saw my favorite acts play and being able to dance all night. I was also pretty upset about my maté.

The burn all started with my desire for an early evening pick-me-up. Eager to make some maté (a South American tea known for its energizing properties), I approached boys at a neighboring campsite to boil water. Once I got back to my camp, between juggling my maté gourd, my thermos with an unscrewed on cap and other items that have no significance now, the water in my thermos spilled down my leg. Luckily I was wearing pants. I just changed into silk pants from a sarong. I sprung up, pulled my pants off and saw my skin start to sizzle. At first I was in shock. Then I broke down, crying, “All I wanted was maté.”

At first the burn did not hurt. It stung, but it was not overwhelming painful or unbearable. This continued to be the case throughout the duration of the burn’s life.

My superhero friends leapt into action. One grabbed my hand for support (even though I ended up being the one telling him it would be okay), one poured cool water on the burn and another ran for first aid. Well two ended up running in different directions for first aid. Luckily a woman who happened to be a nurse was camping close by, and she came to my rescue.

Once I found out what time it was (7:45 and my main squeeze, Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited were scheduled for 8) I really started to cry. For months I’d been looking forward to dancing to their show. The camping nurse wrapped gauze around my leg and told me I couldn’t dance for the rest of the festival. Now this only made me cry harder. The burn was the least of my worries.  As soon as she walked away I said, “I’m dancing no matter what.” Hopping on one leg while clutching my thigh, I made it all the way to the main stage.

Once again, I was in luck. The band was running late. As they sound-checked I wobbled to the official first aid tent of the festival. The first-aiders wrapped a new bandage around the burn, and I danced like a wild animal throughout Thomas Mapfumo’s set. I didn’t stop there. I ended up dancing throughout the night, all the way until the sun came up the next day.

I was extremely mindful of my burn throughout the night (and early morning). I can’t even count how many times I went to the first aid tent: between every other song, if not after every song, after every set, etc., etc.

Back at first aid after Thomas’ set, the burn looked much worse than it had originally. The first-aiders determined it was at least a second-degree burn, if not third. They kept calling people over to look at the burn like they had never seen anything like it. More raw skin appeared, more burnt spots surfaced. What started as one spot that looked burnt, now turned into two spots the size of silver dollars with a huge blister underneath. The blister liquid moved up and down. The area of burnt skin just kept growing, revealing itself with each unraveling.

The first-aiders reassured me that even though the burn looked worse as the night went on, it was getting better. It was going to look worse as it got better. Each time we unwrapped the burn I could have sworn it made faces at me. You’ll see in the pictures. The only time the burn didn’t bother me or I forgot it existed was when I danced. So I didn’t stop dancing.

The next day before I left I got the burn re-wrapped again. The first-aiders said they were shocked at how good it looked and that it was already healing very well. It must have been all that dancing and the magic of GrassRoots. I can’t express enough gratitude for the first-aiders, my friends and everyone who helped. Who knows what would have happened if they weren’t there.

The Healing Process

Here's the view of my burn two days after.

Here’s the view of my burn two days after.

Close-up 2 days later

Close-up (Doesn’t it resemble an alien head?)

Once home I researched everything I could about burns. I wanted answers about what to do; I wanted burn advice, remedies. I was disappointed with what I found. I couldn’t find enough detailed or in-depth advice. That’s when I decided I’d track my progress and blog about it. Even though I’ve only gotten one second-degree burn in my life and I’m no expert by any means, I thought this post may be useful to people and could offer some more advice about healing burns. Remember: everyone heals differently. What worked for me may not work for you.

For starters: I found it was best to let my body do what it was doing naturally without me interfering too much. So I didn’t pop the blisters no matter how much the liquid moved. I didn’t pull off the charred skin. I took cold showers for the first week or so because I didn’t want to risk the burn getting any more heat. I kept the burn covered at all times. When I changed the covering (morning and night and random times throughout the day) I let the burn air out for 20 minutes or so. But I did this in the safety of my bedroom without too much movement.

After getting a burn, the most important thing is to make sure it does not get infected. So I applied Bacitraycin Plus with Aloe to the affected area. Bacitracin (one of the key ingredients of Neosporin) is an antibiotic that stops the growth of certain bacteria. Aloe is soothing and known to have healing properties.

Bacitraycin

I asked everyone I knew if they knew the best way to heal burns. Vitamin E came up in most conversations as the number one remedy. So I bought Vitamin E pills and took them orally everyday starting two weeks after the burn. I also opened the capsules and poured the Vitamin E oil on my wound. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E neutralizes the effect of free radicals. When skin is damaged your body can produce free radicals, which damage skin. Free radicals are thieves in the night, stealing electrons from healthy skin cells. Vitamin E is the detective that cleans everything up.

Every time I showed someone the burn they told me to go to the doctor immediately. I wanted to see how long I could experiment with healing myself using natural remedies before the doctor got involved. I knew I was taking care of the burn well enough that it was not infected. I figured the doctor wouldn’t tell me anything I didn’t know.

But going to the doctor ended up being a good thing for three reasons:

-They gave me a tetanus shot just to be safe.

-The doctor told me to put lavender oil on the burn.

-They wrote me a prescription for Silvadene Cream, which contains the antimicrobial agent silver sulfadiazine. This is the cream nurses use on burn patients in hospitals. The only way to get it is through a prescription. Silvadene started instantly helping the burn. My prescription didn’t have any refills so I was only able to use the Silvadene cream until it ran out. But I highly recommend this cream if you have a second- or third-degree burn.

My routine for over a month:

Witch Hazel

1. Clean the burn with cool water and sometimes Witch Hazel, which is an astringent, a natural skin tightener. Witch Hazel also contains soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. It didn’t sting, but it was a little tingly.

2. With a towel pat dry as carefully as possible.

3. Use a Q-tip to apply Bacitraycin with Aloe or Silvadene to the affected area. Once the blister was completely drained and the skin wasn’t as raw, I started using the Vitamin E oil on the burn instead of Bacitracin. I also I added a few drops of lavender oil and rubbed the mixture together. Lavender oil can also act as an astringent. Not to mention that the scent alone is very soothing and relaxing. Pads, tape, gauze

4. Cover the burn with one large or two small sterile pads. Wrap the pads with gauze and tape to skin. I tried latex free gauze and gauze that stuck to itself. I liked the gauze that stuck to itself but if I moved a lot, I had to also tape it.

I repeated this process around lunchtime and before bed. During this time I never wore tight-fitting pants or jeans. I wore dresses and long flowing skirts. Tight fabric would irritate the burn. I did not go swimming or exercise (yoga, hiking included) for the rest of the summer.

An Overview of Burn Remedies:

-Silvadene Cream

-Vitamin E: either pills taken orally or oil applied directly to the skin.

-Lavender Oil

-Grapeseed Oil (usually mixed with lavender oil and sometimes coconut oil)

-Bacitraycin with aloe

-The gel from an actual Aloe plant

-Witch Hazel

Materials needed:

-Adhesive Tape: I tried a variety of tapes. ShopRite Brand (ShopRite’s a supermarket) Adhesive Latex-Free Waterproof white tape stung the areas that were taped. It stayed really tight if I was still, but once I moved the tape came undone. Wouldn’t recommend it. Cloth tape stuck to the gauze and ripped the gauze. It didn’t stick that well to my skin either. NexTape moved with my skin and was very stretchy.

-Sterile Pads

-Gauze or a cloth covering

-Q-tips

Something to think about: It got pretty pricey keeping up with all the sterile pads and gauze I needed.

Post-burn, 4 and a half months later:

Four and a half months later

Four and a half months later

The burn has shrunk in size and blends into my skin like sun spots would. You can barely notice it. Most of the burn is a light pink, while the bottom part is slightly redder.

I’m not as diligent as I was in the beginning, but I still apply cream on my burn. I apply whatever is in reach in my bathroom: grapeseed oil, lavender oil, lotion packed with vitamins, scar gel. My leg hasn’t been exposed to the sun yet, but for the rest of my life I’ll make sure the burn has sunscreen on it and is covered.

Post-burn one year and three months later:

Burn year later

Here’s the burn one year and three months later.

For the most part the burn has blended into my skin. The outline of the burn is a slightly different color tone than my skin. Some of the insides are a paler white; some of the insides have merged with my skin tone.

When I get out of the shower I apply Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E and mix in Lavender Oil. I try to do this whenever possible, but sometimes I miss days. I’m very happy with the way my burn has healed. To me it looks like a birthmark.

Here’s an overview of the burn’s progress.

Please feel free to share your burn stories and burn remedies in the comments section. Have you ever tried any of the remedies I’ve mentioned? What were the results?

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73 thoughts on “How To Heal A Second-Degree Burn

  1. I really appreciate your in-depth account of the stages throughout your burn. I recently got a partial thickness burn down my thigh from about a cup of hot wax. I avoided going to the doctor at first as I knew there wasn’t much they’d be able to do, but after a day I decided to go to the clinic and they prescribed the silver cream. However after doing some research I’ve read a lot about the benefits of raw honey and Manuka honey on burns. So I’ve been treating my wound with Joey for 9 days now and there are no signs of infection, it’s still raw and tender, but steadily healing. I’m of course paranoid about scarring – as it’s about size of my palm – with summer creeping up I’m devastated that I won’t be able to spend much time in the sun! How long did you treat the scar tissue with vitamin E after the wound has healed? Did you use any other scar creams such as Mederma? Did you allow a scab to form over your wound as it healed? I’ve been reading a lot about “moist wound healing” where you don’t actually allow a scab to form and studies have shown it reduces scarring significantly.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story, I found it very insightful.

    • Thanks for your comment, Michelle! I’m glad you were able to take something from the story. Sorry it’s taken me awhile to respond, as I’ve been traveling and haven’t had the most consistent internet access. How did the honey work out? I’m interested to hear about that. After the wound healed I used Vitamin E for about four months. However as time passed, I didn’t use it as regularly as I did in the beginning. Once I started to see progress in the healing I stopped being as diligent in applying anything to the burn. I just let time take its course. I never used Mederma because it contains parabens. I have heard mixed things about parabens and skin care so I didn’t want to take any chances. A scab never really formed so it may have actually been moist wound healing on its own. How is your burn now, one month later?

      • Okaay.. I can’t manage to find a place to comment .
        first of all your post ia really helpful I mean I just had the same second degree burn 3 days ago and in the same area my thigh the I went to the emergency room once it happened ans 2 days later I went to a doctor but the doctor really bummed me out he told me not to go out for 10 days of course he gave me antibiotic and stuff but my question here im traveling in 9 day and its already been a week since I got burned so do u think I will be able to walk and enjoy my time ? Will it be better than this raw skin in 9 days ?

    • Burned my foot cooking wings with hot oil. Ten times worse than pictured. Took a different rout being my first time but trained on wound care. First rarely rapped out 90% of time. Days 1-like 8 are the worst, looks worse before it gets better. Lower is worse like a foot while healing you get bllod rush upon standing bad pain lasts a couple days. All I can say is keep it clean antibacterial bacetracin, aloe, if it gets infected that’s trouble. Your body is an amazing healer give it time. I gave mine lot’s of air, everyone goes about it differently. I just kept it very simple.. hope to help is all

  2. Thank you for your stories and pictures. I spilled boiling water on my hip 3 days ago and had to go to the emergency clinic.. Of course I have no insurance and am therefore terrified of the progress of the burn healing. The pictures of your progress give me hope! I may start taking photos of my wounds simply to track the progress for myself.

    The doctor at the clinic told me that the oozing would ease up after a week, and it would take about 3 weeks to completely grow new skin. They prescribed me the Silvadine cream and percocet for pain, the latter of which has been less than effective, it simply makes me loopy and in pain. Instead I’ve been taking prescription strength doses of Advil. I’m also taking arnica montana orally as a homeopathic solution at the suggestion of many friends, and rubbing arnica gel around but not on the wound. Of course my burn is on the joint, so every time I move I feel pain. How long did it take for the pain to subside on your open wound? And how long did you continue wearing the gauze?

    • You’re welcome, Elle! I’m glad my progress could give you hope. It was really great to take photos so I could reflect over time and realize that I was healing. It’s amazing to look at the before and after pictures. Even now I’m looking at the pictures, looking at my leg and thinking it has been an amazing healing process. Today my burn looks so much better. It almost looks like a faint birthmark and not a burn. Spilling boiling water on your hip sounds painful! I hope the pain subsides soon. My wound really wasn’t that painful as the days went on. I did wear gauze for quite awhile though. I wore it for over a month, maybe two. There were times where I probably didn’t have to wear it, but I wanted to be as careful as possible. If I was just relaxing at home I wouldn’t wear it. But if I went anywhere else, I made sure I was gauzed up. Keep using the Silvadine cream, it worked wonders for me. How is arnica montana working? I haven’t heard of that.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience. 3 days back my 8 month old son had a bad scald injury caused by half cup of tea. Half of his body got severe burn(second degree burn as per doctors report)..He is in hospital now. Still he cries in pain..Recovery is very slow. 😦

  4. I just burned myself 6 days ago and my burn looks very similar to this just across my chest. Needless to say in very upset and having a lot of emotional issues but seeing your blog gives me hope! Thank you! To the drug store I go

  5. Thank you for sharing this! You are right – there is a shortage of information on burn healing – especially what it looks like. I burned my breast with a curling iron just over a week ago now, a second-degree burn that was as long as my hand by about two fingers wide – worst just where the cleavage meets when it does. Which is often in my case. I had to cover it for a week during the day for that reason alone. I did see a doctor, but they couldn’t do too much, as I’m allergic to silvadene.

    Luckily, it’s healing quickly; now the raw patch is about the size of my middle finger. Im hoping in another three days i wont have to guard it every time a cat wants to visit me. It’s been helpful, especially in the early days, to see your images and know this is normal. Tell me though..,did you feel pain deep under and around your burn? That’s started happening and I’m not sure if its just nerves waking up again, or pulling, or what. It’s not severe pain, but I would say significant pain. Just wondering if that’s normal or if I should hie me off to my doctor again.

    • I hope your burn has been healing since you commented, Renee. I didn’t really feel pain deep under or around my burn. Maybe slightly in the beginning, but eventually most of the pain subsided. I wonder if it has to do with the location of your burn. Are you still feeling the pain?

  6. Thank you SO much! Hot coals got all over my thighs and went on a friends arm, we where in such pain. I am now just focusing on how to heal this, because our summer is simply not going to take a back seat! Thank you so much! And I will be doing this remedy!
    Loved the picture timeline too!

    • You are so welcome, Kay! I’m so glad I could help! Don’t let this get in the way of your summer!

  7. Your blog was extremely helpful! I’ve been madly researching what to do with my 2nd degree burns. Your blog was the most informative and the pictures showing progress also gives me comfort. I also burnt myself on chest with cooking oil and was definitely feeling the summer blues over it.

    How long did you keep your burn away from the sun?

    • I’m so glad I could help! I burned my thigh in July, and I stayed out of the sun for the rest of summer. If I did anything outdoorsy I covered up my leg. I spent the winter in Costa Rica, where it’s almost impossible to escape the sun. Even so I wore long shorts, long skirts or a sarong that would cover my burn. I always applied and re-applied sunscreen to the burn. Now I’m still very cautious about having my leg in the sun and always have sunscreen on it if it’s exposed.

  8. I can’t thank you enough for the timeline and pictures. I burned my arm from a steam vent , about the size of my fist 10 days ago and finally went to the dr. 2 days ago. I can’t believe how little can be done just a waiting process but your pictures gave me hope, because at this moment it looks hopeless, it is weeping so much. But, I am doing what you have done to treat it, except for the vitamin E, I will get that also.

  9. This in-depth description of your experience with second degree burn was very helpful! Two weeks ago, my arm and leg both cooked on the Arizona road for 10 minutes and the healing process feels so slow. The burn just started developing areas of white which I am assuming means it is progressing through the healing process, but wanted to confirm its normality. Thanks again for the progressive pictures and tips!

  10. Thank you so much for posting this. I received a second degree burn about 10 days ago on my foot and my biggest fear was that I’d scarred for life (and have to give all my wonderful sandals away.) The burn looks horrid to say the least. But seeing how much progress you made in 4 months gives me hope! I an going to incorporate the Vitamin E and Lavender and Witch Hazel into my healing ritual.

  11. Thank you SO very much for this. I received a 2nd degree burn yesterday at a festival, and it’s looking pretty ugly today, red and exposed as I lost a layer of skin where the coffee scalded me. I’m tryin to treat it naturally but not really fuss over it too much – and I’m hoping that it will be healed well enough in time for Burning Man, so I’m pretty nervous about treating it right. I’ll call my doctor tomorrow and ask about that Silvadene. It sounds very helpful.

  12. Just the other day I had a bad steam burn from my knee to the ankle. Talk about being in shock.. I was doing research just like many others do and could not find an information about to leave bandage on all day, change it daily etc…My thinking is to change it everyday at night before going to sleep. I have notice pain every time I put strain on my leg by getting around. Normal? I don’t know but I have to work and make ends meet. Just looking for advice and when would be a proper time to put the vitamin e it’s still kind of raw. Ask for pic I’ll send it to you mine looks worse than yours. Second degree burns suck and hope nobody goes through what I went through. Tylenol has been helping a little but bitting the bullet. At least 2 more days of work. Any advice? Thank you and loved the story you shared!

  13. Two day ago, I accidentally got a portion of my leg burned from being in contact with a motorcycle’s tailpipe. Though the area affected isn’t that big, it is my first time getting a secod degree burn so I was pretty clueless as proper measures to take I avoid infection and speed up the healing process. I was prescribed with the silver cream as well. It’s currently red and moist though and i was starting to get worried that I was doing something wrong. But coming across your post helped soothe my doubts so thank you for sharing! Hopefully my burn heals as well as yours did

  14. I got burned about a week ago, when I was removing a hot Pizza stone from the oven. It was sitting on a metal rack with handles. When I pulled the rack out of the oven, I didn’t hold it completely level….so the pizza stone slid forward and hit me in the right arm. I heard an immediate sizzling sound. I turned and tried to put the whole thing down on the counter without dropping it. That didn’t work out either–because then I got hit in the same arm with the hot metal handle. I went to the sink and ran cold water over my arm…and then I got ice out of the refrigerator and put iit on the burn (I found out later that is not a great idea).
    my husband went out and got bandages and antibiotic. Long story short, after 7 days suddenly it all got extremely red and it actually hurt more than it did when I first got the burn. So I went to the emergency room.and got diagnosed with cellulitis (bacterial infection of the skin). Oh no. I now have to take Keflex antibiotic 4 times a day. I am sitting here writing this because I can’t sleep, my arm hurts so bad. It would have been less expensive if I had gone out and bought a pizza instead of trying to make it myself.
    It’s been a rough week. I found that someone had been taking poetry from my blog, I just switched it from public to private.

  15. Thanks a lot for your post. I got second degree burns on face, hand and feet…it has been three weeks and your post just made it a lot easier for me. Worst part for me is that last week, my doctor prescribed me mometason cream which is a steroid. I am a hard core naturopath and would accept permanent scars on my face rather than using steroids….I hope you will understand what your post means to me now 🙂
    thanks again.

  16. Thank you for the information and the pics. I poured boiling water on my foot last night and am going through exactly what you stated. I didn’t know how long this would take as I start school in 2 weeks.

  17. omg this helped a lot especially with the pics. i was in an accident this past weekend and i got 1st and 2and degree burns from the airbags. my arm is blistered and the liquid inside is starting to drain on its own. i was prescribed Silvadene Cream and stong pain killers. i am afraid of scaring. this post and your pics assure me that i should heal just fine. thanks.

  18. I have a burn just like yours on top of my foot/ankle from a steamer and it has been a week. It is still excruciating to clean (we use hydrogen peroxide and neosporin) and I’m wondering if peeling or scrubbing the skin that’s just kinda dead and loose off will help the healing or make it worse. It is very swollen and being 9 mos pregnant isn’t making things easy. I can’t imagine having to deal with this for months once my son gets here.

    • Hi Lynzi,

      I was able to cut off the dead skin from my burn. I just made sure I didn’t touch any other part of the burn while I did it. And I made sure that the scissors were clean/sterilized.

  19. Hi,
    I’ve had high 2nd degree burns on both my thighs from boiling water. The doctor has removed all the dead skin, owing to which my entire skin is exposed. I’m using silver sulphadine cream but it just burns like hell after applying it. I’m keeping wound open. After how many days will the skin start coming back because right now even a slight movement pains terribly

    Thanks,
    Hemali

  20. Thank you for sharing your burn recovery,I walk into an open oven door at bible school working in the kitchen.I burn my leg on Wednesday didn’t go to the doctor til Monday they clean all the dead skin off and apply silverdana cream on it. Its been two weeks my leg still burns and stings when I stand at first. It is healing slow

  21. Your blog & all the information was very helpful…
    Thanks for taking the time out to share your story…

    Michelle J.

  22. Just yesterday, I accidentally dropped a hot bowl of soup while getting it from the microwave. Some of the soup splashed onto my wrist, and it was excruciating. First instinct was to run it under cold water! I took some aspirin and later applied a cold compress. It’s now a blister the size of a pea. I will continue to use Polysporin and bandage it during the day until it fully heals. So tempting not to pop it, bit we all know it’s best to leave it alone. I haven’t gone to see a doctor yet since it’s quite small. Coincidentally, it’s on the same arm I got a second-degree burn on when I was a toddler!

    Thank you for sharing your story and remedies that you have used. Seeing the progress at four and a half months gives me hope.

  23. Thak you so much for posting this , it gave me lots of hope. I have a nasty second degree burn on my inner thighs. I had it 4 days ago when i accidently spilled hot water on myself. I’m taking good care of the burn and keeping it clean but i just want to know when can i start wearing jeans and leggings again? When were you able to get into your jeans again with no trouble? Thanks a lot for sharing this , it really helped.

    • Hi Reem,

      I’m glad my post gave you hope! I probably didn’t wear jeans for two months or so. But I’m also not the biggest fan of jeans, and I tried to wear loose, comfortable clothing as long as possible. That’s really up to you though. Do whatever feels best and the most comfortable for you!

  24. Hello Mam,
    I burnt an area around my left knee by spilling over a hot cup of green tea .The area is around 6 /5 inches.It has blisters and has reddish look ,not the pink look that I see in pictures.It happened 2 days ago.I was given a tetanus shot by doctor, and given that sivler cream as well.She also prescribed me Keflex, an anti biotic oral medicine probably to prevent nfection.I have noticed that you were not prescribed any oral anti-biotic.I don’t know if taking oral anti biotic is absolutley necessary or not?.I don’t like the side effects of anti biotics so I am thinking about discontinuing it after tomorrow.

  25. Hello, first of all thank you for your blog it’s really useful, you’ve done quite a good job with your burn!
    I had a motorcycle accident while travelling in Asia a month ago, luckily, the accident took place 3 days before the end of my travel so i could take better care of it back home. Anyway, I fell down and i burned my leg on the exhaust, the burn is right above the knee on the back and the side of my thigh, so as you could tell, it was pretty painful to walk, I was actually limping for a week!
    First day of the accident I didn’t even wash the burn with cool water because I was told that the water in the country where I have been is not very clean that it might do more harm than good, so I went to a pharmacy and I was given gauze and betadine to cover the burn with.
    I went to the hospital to see a doctor the next day though as the pain was getting worse! The doctor cleaned it, gave me a tetanus shot and covered it with petroleum soaked gauze.
    My journey back home took about 30 hours, and that’s where it’s gotten the worst I suppose, my leg was swollen and the gauze was stuck to the burn and it hurt really badly! I went to see a doctor who did the necessary, I was told to use petroleum gauzes for a while and anti-septic cream that I had to apply on the burn; I also had to take anti-biotics for a week so it wouldn’t get infected. I prescribed myself vitamin E pills not the doctor and I’ve been taking them for almost 3 weeks now, I put the oil in the vitamin E capsules on the burn only once, I was told it was too soon!
    I am posting this message as I am really worried about the colour of my burn, I passed the danger phase where the burn could have gotten infected and all, the skin where the burn is flat and even, no rising nor sunken flesh. The colour on the other hand is so red! It was rose a few days ago and it’s turning all red again! It even has like small spots that like blood! Is that normal? I mean it’s been a month already!
    Also, should I keep using the petroleum Vaseline gauzes? Or should I start applying the Aloe Vera gel and the vitamin E oil? And how long do I have to keep it covered for?

    Thank you.

    • Whew, I’m sorry that you had to deal with a burn while traveling in another country! I’m glad that you’re back and were able to go to a doctor. My burn was also red for awhile, so I wouldn’t worry too much. Every body heals differently though. I also had small spots that were red for awhile. I’m not sure about the petroleum Vaseline gauzes as I never used them. I started applying Vitamin E Oil when the burn was flat and the wounds weren’t open flesh anymore. I kept my burn covered for over a month. In time I was able to tell when it was okay to expose to the air (primarily after the infection stage when the wounds were still pretty open.)

      I hope this helps!

  26. Thank you for such a detailed post…. I had scalded water fall on my stomach right near the belly button and its going to be 2 weeks and except for the edges, the skin had not grown back… so was beginning to worry on how long it would take and your pictures and descriptions tell me… I still have some time to go before i press any panic button… the doctor did give me a shot and course of antibiotics and i am now using a homeopathy ointment -Cantharis that ensures no infection on the wound site as also coconut oil that cools down the feeling of itchiness…..but your post really helped… thanks!!

  27. thank u so much for this. I just had a workplace injury where I burned myself over my belly. I was really afraid it’s going to scar a lot but yours looks really promising. thank you also for all the great ideas on how to heal it.

    • Hi! Thank you for sharing your story. I got teary-eyed while reading your story as i remembered what had happened to me. I got burned 5 days ago at my workplace, a second-degree burn, almost the same as your pictures. The burn is really bad and big. I thought it is going to get better after a while, but it does not. Right now, it is very itchy and there is redness around the burned area. I do not know what is going on. There are tiny bumps around the burned area and suspects an allergic reaction or something. The doctor prescribed me Flamazine cream, a topical cream to prevent infection. But I think I should see a doctor to really know what is happnening.
      I am really worried about what it would look like after it healed, but having read on how you treat your burn gave me hope. Again, thank you.

      • Hi Mary, you’re very welcome! Remember that all healing takes time. Remain patient and hopeful. Good luck in the healing process.

  28. Thank you so much I am one week into a thigh burn identical to yours (not the alien face).
    I am using saline wound wash rather then witch hazel and my doctor prescribed silver sulfadiazine cream. It turns out I am allergic to it B- ( . I had a tube of Mupirocin from a minor skin infection in the past. Doctor said it would do the job. I will try some of the things suggested to reduce scarring. Sterile white petroleum is what I am using to keep it moist and the Mupirocin for reducing possibility of infection. My biggest problem is adhering surgical pads, gauze or panty liners (extra long and absorbent) to the burn area. Dresses are not an option at work. I have tried many tape products. Paper tape is what I am using but my very tender shin is taking a beating with the multiple changes of wound dressing. I am using mineral oil to remove tape when it is stubborn. Could you say more about tape?

    • Hi Virginia, I’m glad that you have an alternative to Silver Sulfadiazine. With my burn I also had a problem with tape products. My skin was very sensitive and disagreed with many tapes. NexCare has sensitive skin tape. Have you tried that? There are also tapes that wrap around your leg and stick to themselves. Have you tried any of those? I hope this was helpful.

      • I know it’s been a few years but the item your talking about is called coban! Paper tape peels my skin off with it! I’m a mess with tape but Conan has been amazing and ace bandages. I dumbly got mine from an ice pack due to poor circulation! 282nd degree and it’s bright red with even darker red spots but no one seems to talk about a yellow layer after blister and dead skin is gone. I can’t find anything on the internet either that shows the yellow moist crust patch on center of wound. I know it’s been a while since this blog but anyone who has info please help, the Dr doc thought I was trying to get pain meds since I’m already on them for a major leg operation, hence the ice pack frost bite burn and I’m hurting so badly I had to go back to using crutches because walking is bringing me to tears. He said, man it’s a burn what did you expect, for it to make your leg feel better? This was a waste of your money you can get a tetnis shot anywhere. JERK!!! My burn looks so much worse than yours in worried it could be infected or 343rd degree!

  29. Really glad to find this too! I gave myself first and second degree burns 3 days ago because I was making soup and didn’t let it cool much at all before trying to blend it in a Vitamix. Dumb mistake, cuz it exploded out and all over me the second I turned it on. Ugh. I have a few little spots on my face and thank God those aren’t bad…just one spot on the side of my nose that has been oozy but seems to be improving. Some raised welts on my forearm, and the worst spot is on my chest. Angry red splotches, raw skin where the skin came off (the size of a quarter) within hours and some small blisters. I don’t have health insurance so have been treating it with a combo of: pure aloe vera gel, Neosporin, colloidal silver (sprayed on the raw parts and then allowed to dry before being covered with gauze bandage. Now I’m trying Manuka honey on the raw spots since that was recommended as a homeopathic remedy after 3 days. I did decide to make a dr’s appt at a place that lets you pay out of pocket for not TOO much money because I am worried about infection and it sounds like that silver cream will really help with that.
    I’m quite worried about scarring too, so will follow all the tips here to reduce the marks. My big question now is whether or not I should exercise yet. I am getting sick of just sitting on the couch but don’t know if sweating is a great idea – would that exacerbate the raw wound, even if covered up?

    • Ouch! Sorry to hear about your burns especially the ones on your face! As active as I am and as much as I wanted to dive right back into my exercise routine (and the lake for that matter!) I waited until the burn was completely healed. I honestly didn’t think it was worth it. Once the raw skin was healed to normal skin and I didn’t have to wear a bandage–that’s when I started exercising again. I put so much love, effort and time into healing my wound then to think that one run or one sun salutation would completely debunk my efforts. It was definitely not worth the risk to me. Healing my wound was the most important aspect of my life at the time. I could always exercise when it was over. Find other ways to entertain yourself! It’s a good opportunity to find something else that interests you and fulfills you instead of exercising. Happy healing!

  30. My cousin pushed hot soup out of my hand and it got all over my hand and boobs. My hand is already healing. But on my boobs its peeling and looks raw and pinkish red. I don’t want to go to the doctors so I have been putting something called Bactine on it. Its a spray that says its for “soothing infection protection” I want to know if its going to scar and how long till its healed?

    • Ouch, sorry about the hot soup! All wounds heal differently and take their own time to heal. Stay diligent with protection and treating the wound. Be mindful of the burn and make sure it doesn’t get infected.

  31. Hi my 11 months old Baby girl got burn on her inner thigh with boiling water 😦 😥 its extremely painful to watch her in pain!I took to the emergency they give her “Burn heal” cream, ibguestic Plus for Pain and Augmentin…They told me to wash it off with 1 tiny drop of dettol and dry off then rub the cream!!!today is 5 days I saw it bleed tiny spot on it!!!is that normal???????did that happen to yours ???

    • I’m so sorry to hear that. Mine didn’t bleed. Maybe she’s having an allergic reaction to the medicine. Maybe her skin is sensitive to the cream. Is it still bleeding or was that just a one time thing?

  32. Hey. I’ve been suffering for second degree burn on my leg for about a week two days like that. Mine are just like yours, at the leg, but the whole leg. It’s because of i’ve spilt hot water on it. I am wondering how long it takes for the skin to dry? Because i cant barely walk properly right now as it hurts me a lot. I have problems in sleeping and bending my leg. Do you encounter the same thing?

  33. Thank you so much for sharing your experience,its really helped me as there are days when you think youre the only one! I slept with the candle on,it was on a nearby side table and I slept on the couch,was so tired-forgot to turn it off when electricity came back.my long weave(about mid-back level)caught fire first,i actually woke up to my two dogs (pebbles,a jack russel & max,a maltese poodle)barking mad and tugging at my weave in the front of my head.as I woke up I smelt the burnt hair,felt it and found it was on fire.i successfully pattedt it off(by this time it was at ear length!) And seconds later the bottom part of my shirt caught fire too from residue flames I guess from weave.all in all my whole back got burnt and part of my left under arm.i spent 1month in hospital,having the

    very same uncomfortable dressingss,multiple painkillers(even the morphine stopped working),im now an out patient at home and continue to wash my burns in salt water,and applying silver sulfadiazine cream

  34. hello. thank you for showing pictures of your journey. it helped me alot in calming down. just last week, i spilled hot boiling water from the stove on my left thigh when we had our cooking class in school. The people there panicked and just put a slab of ice on it and it was too late when I realized that what they did was wrong as it destroy the tissues. an hour passed until my parents got to me then rushed me to the emergency room. the doctor OPENED MY BLISTER and dressed it.

    now a week has passed and im worried on the spot where the doctor opened my blister. it turned a yellow scab and it has blood spots in it. the size of it is maybe an inch wide. I was wondering if you came across a problem like this?? that your scab turned yellow??

    and is it normal that blisters are always reappearing right after a blister oozes out? :((

    also did you cut the loose skin once the blister popped on its own?

    and lastly is it normal that the burned skin looks wrinkly???

    im sorry for asking alot of questions but im just really worried of my burn. :<

    thank you. i hope i get a reply from you. good day 🙂

  35. Thank u so much for the pictures. I just gotten some 2nd degree burns from boiling soup as well, and to a larger area than yours. Your progress pictures give me hope and something for me to look forward to. I’m about 5 days into my injury now.

    • hi,

      This was really helpful
      Do you recommend to exercise if burn is still red?also did you let water touch it when showering?

      thanks

  36. Thanks for posting this and adding photos, it was the one resource that I kept going back to when I burned myself with boiling water three and a half months ago. Somehow the pictures and descriptions made it so much easier to deal while recovering from a burn. As I mentioned, I spilled boiling water on my arms a month before my wedding and even tough I wore fingerless gloves for the ceremony to protect them from the sun/hug friction, I have to say that a month was enough for my arms to be healed and recovered, but of course the areas were reddened and it will take some time for the marks to blend with the rest of my skin. My treatment was different from yours, since they applied bandages at the hospital and I wasn’t able to take them off for 10 days. While at the hospital, I spent 5 hours running cool water over my burn for the pain to diminish so they could cut the blisters open (ouch), When they took away the bandages 10 days later I almost fainted, it looked moist and terrible but since I burnt both my forearms (yes, what are the odds?) I guess they knew what they were doing. My advice is to seek medical attention if the area is large or of -like in my case- the burn affects both arms but whether you go to the doctor or not, patience and persistence are key factors when dealing with a burn. You have to keep the area clean, moist with ointment or special patches (they applied some Vaseline-like patches and I used Italdermol for the final stages) and ideally covered so it can heal from the inside out and regenerate as best as possible. Some people use Silvadene and it works great but since I am allergic to sulfa-based medication, that wasn’t an option for me. For anyone else reading this, make sure you check the active ingredients of any medication you apply on your burn. When they told me I could wash the burn and change the bandages every 3 days, I did use Neosporin for the areas that still looked “raw”. My advice is: be patient, know that accidents happen and hey, like I said to every person who kindly pointed out how stupid the way I burned myself was: most accidents happen because of stupid distractions so don’t be too hard on yourself.

    • Dear April, thank you so much for this blog post, it has been so incredibly helpful and supportive to see your healing process and read other comments above. My husband suffered 2nd degree burns over most of his arm after a scalding pot of tea was dropped on him. He lost most of the skin off his arm and his burn looks to be about twice as large as yours. The emotional and physical experience of this has been incredibly difficult but it has been so comforting read your journey and process of healing.. we have pretty much followed the same treatment, other than he was seen immediately at the hospital and we have not started any topical oils (lavender, E etc) as he is still at the stage off applying the SSD cream.. its only been 2 weeks now and we figure we should keep applying until at least the skin isn’t so red…
      so glad to see you healed nicely as we also have no idea what to expect re scarring. thanks again for you extremely helpful post.
      toni

  37. Hi,
    for how many days can the silver cream be used? I have a second degree burn on my forehead that happened 4 days ago and i am still able to accept the fact that this has happened. Also how long is the possible infection phase generally? a month?
    In future, say after a few months if the area is exposed to sun what happens? are we worried about discoloration or is there something serious? after how many months do you think is it safe to get into a public swimming pool? thanks a lot.

  38. Great to see this so hard to good information online. I had a hot water bottle burst onto my chest, 2nd degree burn in my cleavage and under one breast, very painful and I’m struggling with that as well as feeling very worried about scarring. I live in scotland so my hospital treatment and prescriptions are free but they gave me a limited amount of dressings and no silver cream going to have a dressing change by the nurse in 2 days so hopefully she will be able to give me some cream. Keen to try your suggestions

  39. Glad I came across your blog post. I had a boiling water accident with my canner. Water literally exploded like volcano , soaking my entire stomach, thigh and arm. I think they heard me scream on Mars. Most painful excruciating experience I have ever had and I say that after giving birth 3 times with no drugs, shattering my leg in an accident. 8 day into my recovery now and finally starting to heal. I had huge 4-5 inch long blisters, about 3 inches wide on multiple areas of my body. Using the silver cream, neosporin and bacitracin, nonstick bandages and miles of gauze wrap. Which frankly the loose weave gauze is a complete waste of money. My husband bought the self stick gauze tape for me finally as the bandages kept slipping down. Still on an oral antibiotic, Ibuprofen. Unfortunately I am allergic to the majority of painkillers so I just had to deal with the pain. The itching is enough to drive one to madness. Gave in and I take one benadryl at night for the itching. Pictures and progress you shared are helpful in gauging my healing. Thankfully I am past my bikini days(I could still do it though 😉 my arm will likely be the worst scarred area according to my doctor. As horrific as my leg looked, the partial steam burn on my wrist is the cause of my potential scars. But hey, I can deal with that, it could have been my eyes.

  40. Sounds like a lot of us are in the same boat. It just feels like it takes so long to heal. I burned the top of my foot and ankle with boiling water and my burns look like yours. It is one week in and I am still raw and weeping and painfull. I am terrified of my return trip to the burn center because I am afraid they will want to remove all of the dead skin and reveal more raw flesh. Walking is difficult but I am going stir crazy in a chair or bed with my foot elevated.
    Tonight we are going to try and go to a movie, I hope I can manage the short walk from the car to the theater seat.
    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. I find it very helpful to hear your stories.

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