If you suffered a serious burn (second– or third-degree burns), see a doctor immediately. While you may find certain home remedies for burns effective, you should first receive medical attention and discuss any home remedies with your doctor.
If your burn is minor (first-degree burns), you may rely on basic first-aid and the use of certain home remedies. But patients should know that the evidence surrounding the effectiveness of home remedies is scarce.
What should I do immediately after a burn?
While a common assumption is that ice is a burn’s best friend, this is anything but true. This is because ice can make it tough for blood to reach burned skin. As a result, tissue can sustain even more harm.
Run cool (not cold) water over the burn for about 15 minutes. This can also soothe the burn by bringing down the temperature of damaged skin.
What are some home remedies for burns on the skin?
The favorite choice for burns has historically been aloe vera gel. Aloe is touted as having several effects on burns:
- Pain reduction
- Reduce inflammation
- Skin regeneration
A 2007 systematic review of literature found that burns treated with aloe vera healed 8.79 days before those in control groups. The authors concluded that aloe vera may increase the rate of healing in first- and second-degree burns.
But a 2012 systematic review found that aloe vera failed to improve the rate of healing compared to silver sulfadiazine. The authors of this review concluded that there was not enough high-quality evidence to determine if aloe vera is an effective treatment to promote wound healing in patients with acute wounds (including burns), as well as chronic wounds.
Another useful natural remedy for burns may be raw honey. Some tout honey’s natural anti-inflammatory and anti-infection properties that aid in wound healing.
In one 2008 systematic review of literature, researchers found that the use of honey may speed healing for “mild to moderate superficial and partial thickness burns compared to some conventional dressings.”
But in a 2013 systematic review, the researchers concluded that honey may actually delay healing in partial- and full-thickness burns compared to early excision and grafting. However, they also concluded that “[h]oney might be superior to some conventional dressing materials,” though they questioned the strength of this evidence.
Then, in a 2015 systematic review, researchers found, “Honey appears to heal partial thickness burns more quickly than conventional treatment.” The researchers cite high-quality evidence that honey may heal partial thickness burns about 4 to 5 days faster than conventional dressings.
What are some home remedies for burns I should not try?
While some home remedies may simply be ineffective, others may actually be harmful. The CDC warns that butter and ointments might actually cause infection.
Other experts warn against the use of lotions, oils, cortisone, and egg whites. Patients should also discuss the use of certain burn creams with their doctor, including over-the-counter varieties.
Where can I get help for my burn?
Talk to a doctor about the best way to treat your burn and whether any home remedies might help. Call our lawyer referral specialists at 844-549-8774 for help finding a lawyer if you wish to discuss legal options if another party caused your burn.