Minor Burns

Burns are caused when your skin comes into contact with something too hot or too cold causing damage to one or more layers of skin. They may be caused by liquids, being exposed to radiation; such as sunburn, as well as by electricity or chemicals.

The type of burn referred to as a minor burn generally only affects the top layer of skin and may be effectively treated without needing to see your doctor, provided the area affected is not large and the skin is not broken.

Minor burns are painful, they cause reddening and swelling of the affected area, but generally heal within a week, with the correct treatment.

Treatment and Management

First thing to do when the skin is burnt is run the affected area under a running tap for at least 10 minutes to cool the area and reduce blistering. 

After 2-3 hours when the affected area has cooled, a moisturiser/aloe vera/vitamin E can be used if the skin is not broken. 

You can also cover the area with a clean dry bandage or cloth for arms, legs, hands or feet.
Minor burns to the body may be covered with light cool clothing.
Small minor burns to the face should be left uncovered if the skin is not broken, cool compress may be applied if needed. 

If the burn is painful, then taking a mild pain reliever such as paracetamol and/or nurofen can be helpful. 

If blisters develop then do not break the blister, but consult your community pharmacist, who will be able to advise you on either an appropriate treatment or advice, or may refer you to your doctor if required.

It is helpful to have simple first aid preparations available to treat minor burns and scalds on hand at all times, particularly in areas where burns often occur; such as the kitchen or when on holiday in the sun.  Consult your community pharmacist for the essential burn preparations to have in your first aid kit.


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