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What are the three different depths of burn?

Burns are classified by their depth. The depth of the Burn gives an indication of the severity and potential longer-term consequences.

In first aid terms, burns can be split into three different depths:

First-degree/Superficial Burns

First-degree burns are limited to the epidermis, or upper layers of Skin. They are moist, red in color, and very painful. There are usually no blisters, and they often heal within seven days. The most common type of first-degree burn is a sunburn.

Second-degree/Partial Thickness Burns

These burns penetrate more deeply into the skin and destroy all layers of the epidermis and several layers of the dermis. These burns are usually categorized as superficial or deep.

Superficial burns involve only the outermost layer of the dermis, and are defined by extreme pain and hypersensitivity to touch. The skin will be moist and have a mottled pink or red appearance to it. It will blanch on pressure, and there are usually blisters present. Superficial burns usually heal automatically.

Deep burns destroy tissue into the deeper layers of the dermis. Those burns are usually dry and whitish in appearance. The skin does not blanch, and extreme pain will occur. Healing may take up to three or four weeks, possibly leaving hypertrophic, or thick scars.

Third-degree/Full Thickness Burns

These burns involve the destruction of the epidermal and dermal layers, as well as extending into the subcutaneous tissue. The skin is charred and leathery, often depressed from the surrounding tissue. These burns are usually not painful due to the fact that all nerve endings have been destroyed. Third-degree/Full thickness burns require skin grafting in order to heal.

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What are the three different depths of burn?


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