The depth of the damage caused by burn injury is classified into 3 levels; 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees. The most common causes of burn injury are from exposing to hot steam and touching to a hot iron plate, but low temperature burn injury could occur from a hot water bottle, a smart phone, and a battery charger. Other specific injury such as high voltage electronic burn injury could occur rarely. The first degree burn injury usually presents as a red, dry area of skin without blister formation. It will heal within a week with no scar formation. The second degree burn injury forms blisters, causing damage to the dermis (the layer below the epidermis) of the skin. Shallow second degree burn injury (superficial dermal burn injury) heel within 2-3 weeks with no scar formation, whereas deep second degree burn injury (deep dermal burn injury) takes 3-4 weeks before heeling with scar formation. The third degree burn injury is damaged deep beyond the dermis and the operative therapy may be needed.
When one gets burned, cooling with running water from the water tap for 20 minutes is recommended in order to avoid deeper and wider damage beyond the initial thermal injury. Since burn injury could get deeper than the initial appearance, the consultation is recommended if it is not simple redness of a small area.