Burn injuries are classified as either first, second, or third degree
- A first degree burn is superficial, only involving the top layer of skin, the epidermis. These burns are typically pink and tender but do not cause blistering. A sunburn is a typical example.
- A second degree burn or “partial thickness burn” involves the top layer of skin as well as the second layer or dermis. A second degree burn will involve blistering of the skin There are two depths of second degree burn. A superficial partial thickness burn reaches about halfway into the dermis, takes anywhere from 10-14 days to heal, and is generally pink and tender with a blister. These burns normally heal fine on their own. A deep partial thickness burn reaches all the way through the dermis and can cause color pigmentation change and potential scarring. In severe cases, pressure garments and scar management may be required. A normal deep partial thickness burn can take up to 8 weeks to heal.
- A third degree burn reaches all the way through the epidermis, dermis, and into the hypodermis and is often refered to as a full thickness burn because it burns every layer. Third degree burns are the most serious of all burns and require immediate medical attention. Hospitalization, skin grafting, and scar therapy are to be expected.