When it comes to scars, there are several ways that they can happen and that they can be caused. One type of scar that can develop on your body is a burn scar. But what are burn scars? How do they happen, and is there anything that you can do to treat them?
What are burn scars?
Burn scars are caused when you touch something hot. This could be grabbing a hot pan or baking tray, using hair straighteners, accidentally touching the flame on a candle or even spilling boiling water on your skin.
You can also develop burn scars from being exposed to chemicals and radiation as well as electricity. The sun and extended exposure to harmful UV rays can also cause you to develop burn scars.
What happens to the skin?
When you touch something hot, you are going to end up burning the skin. When the skin cells are burnt, they are going to die. However, the body knows that it needs to repair itself, which it does by producing collagen.
It is this collagen that will help the skin to heal, although, at the same time, it also means that the skin that grows back will be thickened and discoloured, which is how scars are formed.
Scars vary in size, depending on the nature of your burn, and some will fade over time. There are also those which will last longer and could even be permanent.
How quickly will a burn heal?
The speed at which a burn will heal, and the likelihood that you will have long term burns, will depend on the type of burn you have.
A first-degree burn is the quickest to heal and should be better within a week, with no scarring. A second-degree burn takes longer to heal, around two weeks. These can cause scars; however, the scars will fade over time.
The most severe type of burn that you can get is a third-degree burn. These can take months or years to heal and are the most likely to leave you with scars. There is also a chance that you will need to have a skin graft to minimise the scarring that occurs.
What can I do to help a burn to heal?
You can do things to help lower the risk of a scar forming in the moment you have been burnt. This advice relates only to second-degree burns; third-degree burns are going to need medical help.
The first thing that you should try to do is rinse the area with cold water. The skin should then be left to dry in the air. If you are concerned about the burn being in the air, you can cover it with a non-stick bandage, placing a gauze around it.
You should aim to stretch out the skin around the burn regularly (a few minutes a day is enough) as this will ensure that it does not contract to the point that it is uncomfortable to move around.
If you are concerned with how your burn is healing or that you have developed a scar that may need further treatment, it is always best to speak to a doctor about your concerns and the can advise you on what to do with your scars.
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