What are the different types of burns?

There are different types of burns depending on how deep the damage is.

  • If the damage involves just the top layer of skin (the epidermis), then it’s a first-degree burn. Superficial burns like this make the skin painful and red, like sunburn.
  • Second-degree burns affect the second layer (the dermis), too. This means the skin gets very red, painful, and swollen, and it may blister.
  • A third-degree burn goes through both the epidermis and the dermis.
  • A fourth-degree burn means that the fat layer, and even the muscle or bone, are damaged, too.

First-degree burns are the least severe. They are red and painful, swell slightly, and turn white when pressed. Second-degree burns have blisters and are painful. They affect both the outer and middle layer of skin. Third-degree burns cause damage to all layers of the skin. The burned skin looks white or charred. These burns may cause little or no pain if nerves are damaged. (This answer provided for NATA by the Southern Connecticut State University Athletic Training Education Program).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.