Skin burns are classified as either first degree, which is the least serious, second degree, where blistering is present, and third degree, where the entire thickness of skin is damaged, including nerve endings.
For a first degree burn, the skin will turn red and you will feel enough pain that it is noticeable. A second degree burn will also have blisters, some swelling and the skin will peel. There may be oozing or weeping of the skin. A third degree burn is very severe, the skin may appear white or black depending on the amount of charring. You may not feel any pain at first since the nerves have been damaged. Related symptoms may include abdominal pain, eyes that are watery, red or cloudy, dizziness, headache, seizures, visual impairments and unconsciousness. Third degree skin burns always requires urgent medical attention and hospitalization.
Burns can, of course, be caused by touching hot things like the stove. But that isn't the only way to get a burn. They can also be caused by touching something with a live current, like an electric appliance or an electric fence. Chemicals can cause burns as well. Even the sun can cause some fairly severe sunburn.
Second degree burns may need to be seen by a medical professional. Third degree burns must be attended to by a professional to make sure infection does not set in and that there is as little damage as possible.
Always ensure the wound is clean and that there is no significant inflammation or infection.
- Echinacea – this herb stimulates the immune system, so when you sustain a burn, taking a dose of Echinacea can jumpstart the healing process.
- Gotu kola - take capsules, up to 600mg dried herb equivalent 3 times a day.
- Aloe vera – this herb is a good sunburn remedy. Cut open a fresh leaf from an aloe vera plant and spread the gel onto the burn.
- Papaya – the enzymes in papaya will help remove dead cells from the wound to aid in healing.
- Calendula – this herb is both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and may be applied topically to burns to prevent infection and speed up healing. Infuse 5 grams dried flower heads in 1 liter of boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool, strain and apply to affected area as compress 3 times a day.
- Comfrey – apply an ointment or salve made with comfrey to a burn to heal the skin and prevent scarring.
- Witch hazel – apply witch hazel directly on the skin to treat the pain and swelling of sunburn.
- Mint – this herb has cooling qualities, which is of great importance when treating burns. Chop up a few leaves and put them in direct contact with the burn to ease the pain. Cover with gauze to keep mint in place.
- Echinacea – besides taking this herb internally, dropping a little on the burn can keep infection at bay.
- Garlic – this antiseptic herb can also be applied directly to a burn after being mashed. Apply the resulting paste as a poultice.
- Gotu Kola - massage in cream, ointment or lotion 1 or 2 times a day.
- Plantain – this herb is simple to use in a pinch. Crush a few fresh leaves so the juice can be applied directly to first degree burns. It is soothing and promotes healing of the skin.
A good blend of essential oils is chamomile 3 drops, lavender 4 drops.