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How to stop scarring from burns

Updated April 17, 2017

You can get minor burns in the kitchen while cooking, from the sun, from using equipment such as a curling iron and from hot items such as scalding coffee. Burns hurt no matter how minor and some burns can leave permanent marks if not treated correctly and quickly. You can treat minor burns and their discomfort at home using common household items and common sense.

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  1. Place the area that has been burnt under cool -- not cold or iced -- tap water. Let the water flood the area and have it soak any clothing around the burnt area. Remove any clothes around the burn.

  2. Soak the area of the burn for at least 20 to 25 minutes. This will stop the burning of the skin and make it feel better. Do not put butter or grease on a burnt area.

  3. Keep the water on the area for as long as possible. Soak a clean cloth in cool tap water and hold it on the burn. When the water no longer feels cool, wet the cloth again.

  4. Cover the area loosely with sterile gauze. Don't use cotton balls or anything that can adhere to the skin.

  5. Watch for signs of swelling or more redness. This is the most common cause of scarring. If you're in pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

  6. Protect the burnt area from exposure to the sun for one year. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF to help prevent changes to the skin's pigmentation.

  7. Tip

    Keep spray aloe in the refrigerator to soothe burnt areas.


    See a doctor if you suffer burns near the eyes, groin or mouth, or if a second-degree burn covers an area larger than 3 inches in diameter.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sterile gauze

About the Author

Cindy Paterson

Based in Santa Rosa, Calif., Cindy Paterson has been writing articles on travel and lifestyle since 1991. Her work has appeared on ForbesTraveler.com and MSNBC.com. Paterson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from Columbia University in New York.

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