There are many old-fashioned home remedies for burns, such as smearing butter or lard onto the damaged skin. But contrary to those methods, health care professionals recommend using aloe vera or antibiotic cream on a burn. Aloe vera can come directly from a houseplant, or from a tube purchased from a drugstore.
Cool the Burn
For a minor burn, hold the burn under cold running water or soak it in cool water for at least five minutes. The water will help reduce swelling as it pulls heat away from the skin. Don't put ice on a burn. Carefully dry the burn with a paper towel.
Put aloe vera cream or gel on the burnt area of the skin. This will also give a cooling sensation. If an aloe plant is nearby, cut off a large leaf and slice it lengthwise. Scrape the gel from the leaf and apply it to the burn. Antibiotic cream is also good for burns because it often contains aloe vera and it can prevent infection. Do not put butter on the burn. Apply either aloe or antibiotic cream liberally.
Wrap the burn in dry gauze or cover it with a bandage to protect the area and to prevent infection. Don't use fluffy cotton as it could get caught in the damaged skin. Covering a burn protects blistered skin. Take an over-the-counter painkiller to reduce pain and swelling.
When to Seek Help
If the burn gets infected or pain increases and it swells, get medical help. These at-home remedies are only safe for first-degree burns, where only the outer layer of skin is damaged, and second-degree burns, when the second layer of skin is burnt and blisters develop. These practices are safe for second-degree burns smaller than 3 inches. Contact a doctor or go the hospital for severe or large burns.