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What are the degrees of burn severity?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2022 | Personal Injury

Burns can happen to different degrees of severity. It is important to understand the difference between them, as this can drastically change how the burn needs to get treated.

Understanding degrees of burn severity can also help a person know what they may have to deal with in the future, specifically when it comes to the healing process.


Temple Health discusses burn severity by degree. First-degree burns make up the mildest type, involving only the outermost layer of the skin. Sunburns often fall into this category. It involves redness and some tenderness or pain of the affected area. If the skin blisters, this is not a first-degree burn, but rather a second-degree burn. Burns in this category often heal on their own with little outside intervention.


Second-degree burns involve at least two layers of the skin and are often much more painful. The skin will blister or look as though it has bubbled. Any second-degree burn on the face, or those over 2 to 3 inches in diameter, should get treated as severe injuries.


Third-degree burns can involve all layers of the flesh and can even go down to the bone. The skin will look white or black rather than red. Victims may not even feel pain due to the destroyed nerve endings. No matter the size or location of a third-degree burn, they should always get treated as severe injuries.

In knowing how to classify these burns properly, victims can get the treatment they need and limit the overall long-term damage they may face.