How to help skin regenerate from burns

Updated April 17, 2017

Burns on the skin cause damaged cells and tissue that pose the risk of scarring. The key to healing a burn properly and preventing a lasting scar is to help the skin regenerate new skin cells that gradually replace the damaged, abnormal cells of the affected area. With proper care, the skin can heal with healthy cells that completely replace those of the injured area, without any infection or scarring. Follow these steps for proper healing and healthy skin regeneration.

Gently soak and clean the burn area. Soak the burn in cool water for 5 to 10 minutes. Clean the area gently (do not scrub) with an extremely mild cleanser, such as Cetaphil, using your fingertips or a soft washcloth. Gently pat the area dry.

Apply an antibiotic ointment, since antibiotic ointments prevent infections, and ones like Neosporin moisturiz and prevent scars. Burnt cells are weak and damaged, making them significantly susceptible to infection, which will affect the healing process. Cover with a new clean bandage or dry gauze. Apply the ointment and change the bandage two or three times during the day.

Before bedtime, clean the area again (according to step 1), and generously apply aloe vera gel to the wound and its surrounding tissue. Aloe vera gel has amazing wound-healing properties. Not only does it prevent infection, but it contains a slew of vitamins and nutrients that promote proper skin cell functioning in healthy skin, such as amino acids, essential proteins, and vitamins A, E, and C. Leave the wound either uncovered or lightly covered with a bandage, so that the aloe gel can penetrate the skin, and the air can help stimulate the healing process of the skin cells.

Apply silicone sheets to the affected area. Silicone sheets were once only available by prescription, but can now be purchased over-the-counter. Applying pressure to the silicone sheet over the burn promotes rapid healing, new cell generation, and collagen stimulation (the essential fibrous protein responsible for the skin's health and appearance).

Avoid sun exposure. Sun exposure causes either hyperpigmentation (dark spots) or hypopigmentation (light or white spots) of unhealthy cells and wound areas, which can last longer and appear more vividly than a burn scar. Cover the treatment area while in the sun for at least a few weeks after the initial occurrence. Apply a high strength sunscreen (SPF 45 or higher) thereafter before stepping outside.


Use 100% natural aloe vera gel. While aloe is an ingredient in many skin care products, its pure, natural form is most effective for healing burns and wounds. Try to sleep in a position that doesn't smother or constantly aggravate the wound. This will also help sustain the aloe vera application during the night. Neosporin now manufactures silicone sheets.


Do not use ice or ice water after a burn occurs, as this sends the cells into "shock" from the dramatic temperature change, and could cause permanent damage, according to burn care information on Do not add excessive amounts of antibacterial ointments during the day, as the cells need to be able to "breathe" in order to heal properly. Do not bombard the skin with anti-scar creams and treatments. The key is to help boost the regeneration of new skin cells to replace the old, but forcing too many active ingredients on the area can cause more harm than good while the cells are trying to heal.

Things You'll Need

  • Cool water
  • Mild cleanser (Cetaphil is a good choice)
  • An antibacterial ointment (such as Neosporin)
  • Bandages
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Silicone sheets
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About the Author

Isobel Washington has been a freelance journalist since 2007. Washington's work first surfaced in Europe, where she served as a restaurant critic and journalist for "LifeStyles" magazine. Her love of travel and culture inspired her first novel, which is currently underway. Washington has a 10-year career in marketing communication and holds a Bachelor of Science degree.