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1. Cool waterThe first thing you should do when you get a minor burn is run cool (not cold) water over the burn area for about 20 minutes. Then wash the burned area with mild soap and water.
2. Cool compressesA cool compress or clean wet cloth placed over the burn area helps relieve pain and swelling. You can apply the compress in 5- to 15-minute intervals. Try not to use excessively cold compresses because they may irritate the burn more.
3. Antibiotic ointmentsAntibiotic ointments and creams help prevent infections. Apply an antibacterial ointment like Bacitracin or Neosporin to your burn and cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Shop for Bacitracin and Neosporin online.
4. Aloe veraAloe vera is often touted as the “burn plant.” Studies show evidence that aloe vera is effective in healing first- to second-degree burns. Aloe is anti-inflammatory, promotes circulation, and inhibits the growth of bacteria. Apply a layer of pure aloe vera gel taken from the leaf of an aloe vera plant directly to the affected area. If you buy aloe vera in a store, make sure it contains a high percentage of aloe vera. Avoid products that have additives, especially coloring and perfumes.
5. HoneyHoney just got sweeter. Apart from its delicious taste, honey may help heal a minor burn when applied topically. Honey is an anti-inflammatory and naturally antibacterial and antifungal.
6. Reducing sun exposureDo your best to avoid exposing the burn to direct sunlight. The burned skin will be very sensitive to the sun. Keep it covered with clothing.
7. Don’t pop your blistersAs tempting as it may be, leave your blisters alone. Bursting a blister yourself can lead to infection. If you’re worried about blisters that have formed due to your burn, see a medical professional.
8. Take an OTC pain relieverIf you have pain, take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Be sure to read the label for the correct dosage.
1. ButterDon’t use butter on a burn. There’s little to no evidence supporting the effectiveness of butter as a burn remedy. On top of that, it may actually make your burn worse. Butter retains heat and also may be harboring harmful bacteria that can infect the burned skin. Save your butter for your bread.
2. OilsContrary to popular belief, coconut oil doesn’t heal everything. For the same reason why you shouldn’t apply butter to your burns, oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and cooking oils, hold heat in and can even cause the skin to continue to burn. Lavender oil is reported to help heal burns, but there’s little published evidence to support this claim.
3. Egg whitesAnother folktale, uncooked egg whites carry a risk of bacterial infection and shouldn’t be placed on a burn. Eggs can also cause an allergic reaction.
4. ToothpasteNever apply toothpaste to a burn. This is another folktale with no evidence to back it up. Toothpaste could irritate the burn and create a more favorable environment for infection. Plus, it isn’t sterile.
5. IceIce and very cold water can actually irritate your burn area more. Ice may even cause a cold burn if used improperly.
- a burn affects a widespread area more than 3 inches in diameter
- the burn includes the face, hands, buttocks, or groin area
- the wound becomes painful or smelly
- you develop a high temperature
- you think you have a third-degree burn
- if your last tetanus shot was more than 5 years ago
- waxy, white-colored skin
- dark brown color
- raised and leathery texture