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Types of burns

There are three different kinds of burns. They are classified by how severely the skin is burned. The three types of burns are:

First degree or superficial burn

A superficial burn is usually red and turns white if you press on it. Only the top layer of skin is damaged.


Regions Hospital - Burn Center - First degree burn

Partial thickness burn

These burns involve the top layer of skin and a portion of the second layer of skin. Partial thickness burns are often broken down into two types, superficial partial-thickness burns and deep partial-thickness burns.

  • Superficial partial-thickness burns cause blistering and are painful. They typically heal within three weeks with minimal scarring.
Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Superficial partical-thickness burns
  • Deep partial-thickness burns are dry and may appear ivory or pearly white. They take longer to heal and usually produce some scarring. Skin grafts are usually recommended for these types of burns.
Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Deep partial-thickness burns

Full thickness burns

Full thickness burns destroy the first and second layers of the skin. They are dry, with a dark brown appearance. Most full thickness burns are best treated with early removal of the dead tissue, skin grafting and long-term use of compression therapy to minimize scarring.


Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Full thickness burns
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