2nd Degree Burn Scar: Everything You Need To Know

by Ella

Burns are a common injury, but their impact varies greatly depending on the severity. Second-degree burns, also known as partial-thickness burns, are particularly notable because they damage both the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and the underlying layer (dermis). This comprehensive guide delves into everything you need to know about second-degree burn scars, covering causes, symptoms, treatment options, and long-term care.


Understanding Second-Degree Burns

Definition and Classification

Second-degree burns affect both the epidermis and part of the dermis, resulting in more serious damage than first-degree burns, which only affect the epidermis. They are classified into two types:


Superficial partial-thickness burns: These involve the upper part of the dermis and typically cause redness, blistering, and pain.


Deep partial-thickness burns: These extend deeper into the dermis, often resulting in white or blotchy skin and more significant pain.


Common Causes

Second-degree burns can result from various sources, including:

Thermal burns: Contact with hot liquids, steam, flames, or hot objects.

Chemical burns: Exposure to strong acids, alkalis, or other corrosive substances.

Electrical burns: Resulting from electrical currents passing through the body.

Radiation burns: From prolonged exposure to the sun (sunburn) or other sources of radiation, such as X-rays.

Symptoms and Identification

The hallmark symptoms of second-degree burns include:

Red or blotchy skin: The affected area may appear red or have blotchy patches.

Blisters: Fluid-filled blisters are a common characteristic.

Swelling and pain: The area is typically swollen and very painful.

Wet, shiny appearance: The burned skin may look wet or shiny due to fluid leakage.

Proper identification of a second-degree burn is crucial for effective treatment and prevention of complications.

Immediate Response and First Aid

Initial Care Steps

Proper first aid can significantly impact the healing process and minimize scarring. Here are the immediate steps to take:

Stop the burning process: Remove the source of the burn and ensure the person is safe from further injury.

Cool the burn: Use cool (not cold) running water for 10-15 minutes to reduce pain and swelling. Avoid using ice, as it can cause further tissue damage.

Protect the burn: Cover the burn with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth to protect it from infection.

Avoid popping blisters: Blisters protect the underlying skin and should not be popped, as this increases the risk of infection.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Second-degree burns can range from mild to severe. Seek medical attention if:

  • The burn covers a large area of the body or is on the face, hands, feet, groin, or major joints.
  • There are signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, swelling, or pus.
  • The burn does not improve after a few days of home treatment.

Treatment Options

Medical Treatments

Medical treatment for second-degree burns aims to promote healing, reduce pain, and prevent infection. Common treatments include:

Topical antibiotics: Creams or ointments, such as silver sulfadiazine, to prevent infection.

Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or prescription medications for severe pain.

Dressings: Specialized dressings that promote moisture balance and protect the wound.

Debridement: The removal of dead tissue to promote healing and reduce the risk of infection.

Surgical Interventions

In severe cases, surgical interventions may be necessary, such as:

Skin grafting: Transplanting healthy skin from another part of the body to cover the burn area.

Excision: Surgical removal of dead or damaged tissue.

Healing Process and Scar Formation

Phases of Healing

The healing process of second-degree burns typically involves three phases:

Inflammatory phase (0-6 days): Characterized by redness, swelling, and pain as the body begins to repair the damage.

Proliferative phase (4-24 days): New tissue formation occurs, including the development of granulation tissue and re-epithelialization.

Maturation phase (21 days to 2 years): Remodeling of the scar tissue to improve strength and appearance.

Factors Influencing Scar Formation

Several factors influence the formation and appearance of scars, including:

Depth and size of the burn: Deeper and larger burns are more likely to result in significant scarring.

Infection: Infections can worsen scarring and delay healing.

Genetics: Some people are more prone to developing prominent scars due to genetic factors.

Location: Burns on highly mobile areas or joints may result in more noticeable scarring due to constant movement.

Managing and Treating Burn Scars

Non-Surgical Treatments

Various non-surgical treatments can help manage and reduce the appearance of burn scars:

Moisturizers and silicone gels: These keep the scar hydrated and help reduce its appearance.

Pressure garments: Special garments that apply pressure to the scar to flatten and soften it.

Massage therapy: Regular massage can help break down scar tissue and improve flexibility.

Laser therapy: Lasers can reduce redness, improve texture, and minimize the appearance of scars.

Surgical Options for Scar Revision

For more severe scars, surgical options may be considered, such as:

Scar excision: Removing the scar and re-closing the wound with fine sutures.

Skin grafting: Covering the scar with healthy skin from another area of the body.

Z-plasty: A surgical technique that reorients the direction of the scar to make it less noticeable.

Psychological Impact and Support

Emotional and Psychological Effects

Second-degree burn scars can have significant emotional and psychological impacts, including:

Body image issues: Changes in appearance can affect self-esteem and confidence.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): The trauma of the burn injury and its aftermath can lead to PTSD.

Social anxiety: Fear of social situations due to visible scarring.

Support and Coping Strategies

Support from healthcare professionals, family, and friends is crucial for coping with the psychological impact of burn scars. Strategies include:

Counseling and therapy: Professional counseling can help address emotional and psychological challenges.

Support groups: Connecting with others who have experienced similar injuries can provide comfort and understanding.

Education and awareness: Learning about burn injuries and scar management can empower individuals and reduce anxiety.

Long-Term Care and Prevention

Ongoing Skin Care

Long-term care is essential to maintain skin health and minimize scar appearance. Key practices include:

Sun protection: Use sunscreen and protective clothing to prevent hyperpigmentation and further damage.

Regular moisturizing: Keeping the skin hydrated to improve elasticity and appearance.

Monitoring for changes: Regularly checking the scar for any changes or signs of complications.

Preventing Further Injury

Preventing further injury is crucial for those with burn scars, including:

Avoiding extreme temperatures: Protecting the scarred area from hot or cold extremes.

Gentle handling: Being cautious with activities that may cause trauma to the scarred area.

Seec Also: Top 10 Scar Creams for Legs in 2024: Dermatologist Recommended


Second-degree burn scars can have a profound impact on both physical and emotional well-being. Understanding the causes, treatment options, and long-term care strategies is essential for effective management and recovery. With proper care and support, individuals can minimize the appearance of scars and improve their quality of life. If you or someone you know is dealing with a second-degree burn, seeking professional medical advice and support is crucial for the best possible outcome.


You May Also Like

Womenhealthdomain is a professional women's health portal website, the main columns include women's mental health, reproductive health, healthy diet, beauty, health status, knowledge and news.

【Contact us: [email protected]

[email protected]

Call: 18066312111

© 2023 Copyright