Some teenagers are learning the hard way what happens when you mix salt and ice on bare skin. The viral video craze is the “Salt and Ice Challenge” where teens sprinkle a layer of salt on their skin and then place an ice cube over it. Since the challenge began, many teens developed burns that required medical attention, and one boy in England had doctors considering a skin graft to repair the tissue damage.

What happens during the Salt and Ice Challenge?

The Salt and Ice Challenge, also known as the Ice Challenge, is usually a dare among friends to see who can hold the ice on their skin the longest. Some teens even record and post videos of the challenge to the internet, thus encouraging more people to participate.

What many of these kids do not realize is that when they expose the ice to salt, it produces a chemical reaction that removes heat from the area, thus causing tissue damage resembling frostbite.

Doctors in the United States have seen cases of these burns ranging from mild frostbite stage to second-degree burns. While the application of ice and salt does not hurt at first, the area can go numb and teens may not realize the damage being done to their skin. Once they remove the ice, some participants reported seeing a hard, white patch where the ice had been.

The pain comes shortly after removing the salt and ice, and in some cases, the area of skin loses sensation due to nerve damage. This delay in pain is one of the reasons the injury can become so severe, as participants do not realize how badly their skin is injured.

One teen in England suffered a severe frostbite-like burn, reports The Sun. He lost feeling in the wound, but maintains feeling around the edges. Doctors had even considered skin grafts.

Make Sure Teens Understand Consequences of Burns

Many teens who participated in the Salt and Ice Challenge now have permanent scars. Burn education should start at an early age before children make the mistakes of touching hot stoves or playing with electric outlets.

Parents may also find these blogs and articles helpful if their child suffered a burn injury:

Helping Children Cope with Burn Injuries

School Reentry after a Burn Injury