Treating Styling Tool Burns

Well the inevitable finally happened. I've finally managed to burn myself with a hot tool. I've been using them for years, so I guess I was due. It gave me a painful reminder of the fact that these tools are often over 300 degrees and really do need to be treated with respect. Safety is key, even when you know what you're doing!

What Type of Burn Is It?

There are three classifications of burn based on the severity: first degree, second degree, and third degree. Most first and second degree burns can be easily cared for at home. I'd venture to guess that most styling tool burns are first or maybe second degree burns. A first degree burn involves the epidermis (outer most layer of skin). There will be redness, swelling, and possibly pain. Second degree burns often have blistering and a splotchy appearance in addition to the other symptoms.

What Do I DO About It?

First you want to cool the burn. It not only feels much better, it helps reduce the swelling. Do this by running cool (not super cold) water over the burned area. If running water is impractical, use cool compresses. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain lessens.

You then may want to bandage the burned area. Use a sterile lint-free gauze, and don't wrap it too tight. You don't want to put pressure on the burned skin (ow!). If you're still experiencing a lot of pain, OTC pain killers such as ibuprofen or tylenol will come in handy.

For most minor burns that's really all you need to do! Of course, if you see any signs of infection (such as swelling/oozing, increased pain or redness, and fever) go to a doctor!

What NOT To Do

If you have a second degree burn that has blistered, don't break the blisters! Not only does it hurt, it can make the area extremely vulnerable to infection.

Don't ice a burn. It's too cold and can cause further damage.

Don't put butter or ointment on the burn, as they can sometimes add to the possibility of infection.

Don't skip sunscreen! For at least a year afterward, your skin in the burned area is more susceptible to sun damage.

Don't Get Burned Again!

Adding to my feelings of stupidity after burning myself, I actually have a heat styling glove that I did not wear at the time. Don't be like me! Wear a glove, don't burn yourself.

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