in: Health, Health & Fitness, Visual Guides

Skill of the Week: How to Treat a Minor Burn

Illustrated first aid instructions for minor burn treatment.

An important part of manhood has always been about having the competence to be effective in the world — having the breadth of skills, the savoir-faire, to handle any situation you find yourself in. With that in mind, each Sunday we’ll be republishing one of the illustrated guides from our archives, so you can hone your manly know-how week by week.

Burns are one of the most painful and most common injuries, from minor burns caused by soaking up a few too many rays on the beach to serious burns caused by close contact with fire. Burn injuries are classified as belonging to one of three categories: first-, second-, and third-degree. First-degree burns are the most superficial, only affecting the top layer of skin, leaving it red and painful, but typically healing within a few days. Second-degree burns are more painful, because they extend into the second layer of skin. They are often associated with the formation of painful blisters and take a week or more to heal. Third-degree burns are the most serious, classified by their size (anything larger than 2 inches across) and severity. They extend through the second layer of skin to cause blisters and leave your epidermis looking white or black.

For third-degree burns, always seek medical attention immediately. The same goes for any burn caused by electrical contact or chemical burns, and all burns affecting the face, hands, joints, or genital area.

For minor burns, however, simple at-home remedies are usually sufficient and only require the few basic steps and supplies outlined above.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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