Burns may result from a variety of different causes such as dry heat (fire, sun, etc.), liquids (steam, hot water, etc.), chemicals, electricity, and extreme cold. Over two million people in the United States are treated for burns each year and over three thousand die of severe burns. Burns differ in severity and are classified into three widely accepted specific levels as follows:
First Degree Burns The most shallow (superficial) of all burns, first degree burns are minor burns which affect only the outer or top layer of skin. They may cause pain, redness and swelling.
Second Degree Burns Also called partial thickness burns, second degree burns are more serious burns which affect both the outer and underlying layers of skin. Along with the pain, redness and swelling associated with less serious burns, second degree burns may also result in blistering.
Third Degree Burns Also referred to as full thickness burns, third degree burns are very serious burns which affect all three layers of skin. Usually the sweat glands, hair follicles and nerve endings are destroyed and the skin may become blackened and perhaps numb.
Burns, even when properly treated often result in scars. There are three main types of scars associated with burns:
Keloid Scars Scars that grow outside the edges of the burn site and may look like tumors or cysts on the skin. They are caused by the body overproducing Collagen at the burn site.
Hypertrophic Scars Similar to Keloid Scars, but not as serious. Hypertrophic Scars remain within the edges of the burn area and may appear as red, raised bumps.
Contractures These scars are associated with a tightening of the skin, ligaments or muscles underneath the burn site. They tend to limit movement.
There are several ways to treat burn scars, ranging from relatively inexpensive home remedies to expensive medical treatments.
Medical Treatments Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists and other physicians may apply one or more of several different treatments for scars resulting from burns. Some examples are: surgical scar revision, skin grafts, demabrasion, laser resurfacing and chemical peels. In some cases two or more techniques may be combined to treat a scar.
Home Remedies There are a number of different creams, lotions, vitamins and other products that are said to help burn scars. From what I can tell, the most effective do it yourself treatments involve the use of some type of Silicone Gel or Silicone Sheet such as Scarfade Gel or Scarfade Silicone Sheeting. There have been studies published in reputable medical trade journals which substantiate the effectiveness of these types of products.
In the end it is up to the patient how to treat their burn scar, if at all. Again, scars differ greatly in their characteristics. Some are large and may actually limit mobility while others are very small and largely unnoticeable. Of course medical treatments are more expensive but in some cases may be necessary.