Getting rid of a burn may refer to the injury healing and/or minimizing the appearance of scarring. Treatment exists that may help with either goal, though patients should always consult their doctor before starting any home or alternative treatment.

Do burns go away on their own?

Some minor burns will heal on their own without medical intervention. This may be the case for first- and second-degree burns, though third- and fourth-degree burns may require medical treatment to aid the healing process.

Whether a burn heals without medical attention depends on various factors, including:

  • The severity of the burn
  • The first aid received for the burn
  • The follow-up treatment for the burn
  • Complications during the healing process
  • Infections
  • The patient’s overall health
  • The patient’s skin tone and type
  • The age of the patient (The elderly may not heal as well as younger people, so burns in the elderly may leave more scarring than in the general population.)

How long does it take for burns to heal?

The time it takes for burns to heal depends on the type and severity of the burn. The journal American Family Physician provides the following timelines:

  • First-degree burn: A few days to a week
  • Superficial second-degree burn: No more than three weeks
  • Deep second-degree burn: More than three weeks
  • Third- and fourth-degree burns: Require skin grafts to heal.

Generally, first- and second-degree burns heal on their own, while third- and fourth-degree burns require medical treatment, including skin graft surgery. If you are interested in using a burn cream like vitamin E cream or other alternative treatment method to aid in healing, please consult your doctor first.

Will my burn cause scarring?

With some minor burns, there may be no lingering evidence of injury. Those with more severe burns may leave scars, though even burn scars may fade over time. Burn scars may include contractures, hypertrophic scars, or keloid scars.

Contractures restrict movement in the injured area. The tissue looks shrunken and pulled, and is often painful.

Hypertrophic scars are common after the burn has healed. The skin may appear raised and discolored (usually red or purple) at the site of the injury.

Keloid scars appear on the site of the burn injury, and beyond. They may appear red or pink at first and then fade to a tan color over time.

Can I prevent or minimize scarring?

The follow-up treatment of the burn injury may affect scarring. Here are a few things you can do that may help minimize scarring or other long-term effects of your injuries:

  • Keep the injury clean and free from irritants to prevent infection.
  • Avoid scratching burned skin.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and conceal burn injuries. Sun exposure can darken the burn site.

Talk to your doctor about other things you can do to minimize scarring, prevent complications, and aid in the healing process. Follow your doctor’s orders on the aftercare of your burn wound. Some burns will fade away on their own, with proper care and sufficient time. Others will become less noticeable over time. Your doctor can give you a better idea of what to expect with your burn injury.

Meanwhile, if another person or party caused your injuries, then you may be able to file an injury claim to recover compensation for your treatment, lost wages, and even emotional distress related to burn scars. Call 844-549-8774 to speak with our lawyer referral specialists who can help you find a burn lawyer who can help with your case.