Although household bleach is not as caustic as many other household chemicals, if it comes into direct contact with skin, it can irritate the skin and cause a burning sensation. If you do not wash it off right away, bleach can eventually burn the skin and cause tissue damage. Chemical burns from bleach can lead to scars and disfigurement.
The Two Types of Household Bleach
There are two types of bleach used in households: chlorine bleach and peroxide bleach. Chlorine bleach is more common in the U.S. while peroxide bleach is more common in Europe. People use bleach for brightening whites in the laundry, removing stains, disinfecting, and sterilizing.
Other common uses that might lead to chemical burns include:
- Bleaching hair
- Bleaching teeth
- Lightening dark patches, sun damage, or age spots
How can bleach cause chemical burns?
Bleach can cause chemical burns under the following circumstances:
- Not following instructions
- Leaving a bleach-based product on the teeth, skin or hair for too long (can lead to scalp or lip burns)
- Applying bleach-based products in places or in manners for which they are not intended
- Use by people with skin sensitivities or allergies
- Bleach splashing in the eyes or mouth or onto skin, such as while cleaning with bleach
What should I do after suffering a chemical burn from bleach?
If you have a chemical burn caused by bleach, immediately place the affected skin under cool (not cold) running water. Treat all chemical burns as medical emergencies. Call for emergency medical help or get to an emergency room as soon as possible. Irrigate the burned area for 15-20 minutes.
Note: Begin irrigating the burn before removing any clothing or jewelry. If jewelry or clothing is stuck to the skin, do not attempt to remove it.
If you have a chemical burn in your eyes, begin irrigating immediately, get to the emergency room, and schedule an appointment with an eye specialist as these burns can cause blindness.
Medical personnel will assess the severity of your bleach burn and determine the appropriate treatment.
Infection, Pain, Scarring & Body Image after a Bleach Burn
Preventing infection: You must keep the wound clean in order to prevent infection. Follow all the doctor’s aftercare orders to keep the wound from becoming infected.
Pain relief: Doctors may recommend over-the-counter analgesics or prescription pain medication for pain relief. Do not take any medication without first clearing it with your doctor.
Scarring: If you have a bleach burn on your face, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention to avoid or minimize scarring and disfigurement. Several options exist to minimize the risk of scarring. Discuss them with your doctor.
Body image: While bleach chemical burns are rarely fatal, they can be painful and disfiguring. After the burn heals, you may notice changes in the color of your skin at the injury site. Bleach lightens skin tone, so scarring from bleach burns can result in long-term light spots or patches on the skin. This can lead to social anxiety and body image issues.
Can I recover compensation for my burn injuries?
If you suffered a bleach-related chemical burn due to another party’s negligence, you may have grounds to file a legal claim. For more information on what to do after a bleach chemical burn or for help finding an attorney who can help you, contact our lawyer referral specialists today: 844-549-8774.