- Hot liquid or steam
- Hot metal, glass or other objects
- Electrical currents
- Radiation from X-rays or radiation therapy to treat cancer
- Sunlight or ultraviolet light from a sunlamp or tanning bed
- Chemicals such as strong acids, lye, paint thinner or gasoline
- First-degree burn. This minor burn affects only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). It causes redness and pain and usually resolves with first-aid measures within several days to a week. Sunburn is a classic example.
- Second-degree burn. These burns affect both the epidermis and the second layer of skin (dermis), causing redness, pain and swelling. A second-degree burn often looks wet or moist. Blisters may develop and pain can be severe. Deep second-degree burns can cause scarring.
- Third-degree burn. Burns that reach into the fat layer beneath the dermis are called third-degree burns. The skin may appear stiff, waxy white, leathery or tan. Third-degree burns can destroy nerves, causing numbness.
- Fourth-degree burn. The most severe form of burn affects structures well beyond the skin, such as muscle and bones. The skin may appear blackened or charred. If nerve damage is substantial, you may feel no pain at all.
- Increased pain, swelling, redness or discharge in the burned area
- A burn that doesn’t heal in several weeks
- New, unexplained symptoms
- Seek emergency medical assistance for:
- Burns that cover the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint
- Chemical or electrical burns
- Third- or fourth-degree burns
- Difficulty breathing or burns to the airway