how to treat a first degree burn

How to Treat a 1st Degree Burn at Home Effectively

So, you are trying to find out how to treat a 1st-degree burn. We’ve all been there and done that and no matter how unpleasant it may feel it isn’t nearly as bad as you might think.

When it comes to how to treat a first-degree burn the steps are very simple. This is by far the least of the three types of burns.

Though that doesn’t make them hurt any less I know!

This is why I have created this list of burn remedies and how you should take care of a burn in order to help it heal faster.

Even a first-degree burn can do plenty of damage, so you want to make sure that you take good care of it.

Make sure you read this article to the end to also find out more about what is a first-degree burn. So that you can better differentiate between the three types of burns.

Disclaimer: I am not a health care practitioner or a doctor. The information in this post is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal health care advice in any way. I am not liable for any damages resulting from using the information included in this article. It is always best to consult a health care professional for advice on your own personal health needs.

What is a 1st Degree Burn?

There are three different types of burns with the first-degree burn being the least of them all. Simply because a first-degree burn only includes the very top layer of skin.

They can still be very painful and unpleasant, but they are very rarely serious or cause complications.

When it comes to what is a first-degree burn there are a few symptoms that you will encounter. Such as pain, redness, occasional peeling, and maybe some mild swelling.

They are usually much less serious than other types of burns and only hurt for a while. Healing relatively quickly, usually within a few days.

First-degree burns are usually not something to be concerned about. As they can easily happen from touching a hot pot or spilling hot water on yourself in your daily life.

The only times when they are something to be very concerned about is if the burn covers a large portion of the body, is on the face or joints, or if you have a weak immune system or cancer. Only then is a first-degree burn something to worry about.

How to Treat a 1st Degree Burn at Home

When you burn yourself, it is important to follow the correct steps when caring for the burn in order to prevent any skin damage.

Even a first-degree burn can leave a scar or can become infected, so you want to still care for it even if it’s just a small burn.

The quote ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure ‘always comes to mind when things like burns happen.

So, don’t neglect your burn just because it seems small.

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Cool the Burn

The very first step that you need to immediately take when it comes to how to treat a first-degree burn is to cool the area down.

Now it might be instinctual to apply ice or very cold water immediately but that can damage the skin.

What you want to do is begin by first applying lukewarm water slowly turning it to the colder setting. This will help you to slowly cool the burn down without shocking the skin.

Once the burn has been cooled down you can apply ice or a cold compress a few hours later if the area is very painful.

how to treat a first degree burn

Keep the Burn Moist

One very important burn remedy is to make sure that the area is kept moist. This is very important especially if the burn covers a large area of skin.

Burns can easily become very dry and tight which will not only create more pain but make the healing process harder. As well as give you a better chance at having a scar afterward.

Never apply butter or any kind of oil to a burn as that can lock in the heat and continue the burning process. Which is the opposite of what we want!

Instead, try applying raw honey or a good quality aloe vera gel. These two sticky substances are hydrating and mild which will help your burn to remain moist without further irritating it.

After a few hours, you could also try adding a tiny amount of lavender oil to the honey. Or aloe vera gel to encourage the healing process.

Protect the Skin

If the area of burnt skin is exposed to many irritants then you will want to gently cover the area. This applies to burns on the hands, feet, and to areas where your clothes might be rubbing on the skin.

Loosely wrap the burn with gauze, a bandage, or saran wrap in order to create a barrier between it and the rest of the world.

Make sure to take the bandage off every few hours in order for the skin to breathe. As most first-degree burns don’t need to be wrapped for long periods of time.

If you are still in a decent amount of pain instead of reaching for an over-the-counter pain killer try reading this article on The Best Natural Pain Relief Remedies. Who knows you might have one of these natural pain killers on hand!

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Do not Irritate the Burn

If your burn starts to form blisters do not try to pop or scratch at them in any way!

Leave any blisters or peeling skin alone as irritating the burn can cause more damage as the skin is very delicate right now.

Continue to apply honey or aloe vera gel to avoid picking at the burn and to keep the skin moist.

The blisters should be able to heal completely on their own and dead skin will come off when it is ready so do not rush the process.

What Can Cause a First Degree Burn?

A first-degree burn can be caused by a wide variety of things as there are many ways to burn ourselves.

Some common ways that you might end up giving yourself a first-degree burn are:

  • Sunburn
  • Boiling water
  • Touching hot objects

You can also get second and third-degree burns from these things, but you will more than likely only get a first-degree burn.

Some easy ways to try to prevent these kinds of mishaps from happening is to always wear sunscreen when in the sun. And to equip your kitchen with many cloths and mitts to avoid touching hot objects.

It is important to practice safety in anything that you do to avoid injuring yourself in the process. Such as when you are cooking or cleaning.

One of the most common causes of a 1st-degree burn is getting burned while cooking. It is important to practice practical kitchen safety when cooking. Such as wearing oven mitts when handling hot foods and dishes, as well as being aware of what is cooking and could splatter.

Things to Avoid

There are some things to avoid when you have a burn as some things can make a burn worse or slow down the healing process.

So, the things you should avoid when you have a first-degree burn are:

  • Cold water
  • Ice
  • Butter or oils
  • Additional heat to the burn
  • Hot water
  • Excessive friction to the burn
  • Irritating the burn or blisters
  • Peeling the skin

Just like there are things that you should do for a burn there are things that you shouldn’t do as well. Using the wrong kind of burn treatment can negatively affect your ability to heal after being burned.

Being too rough or applying the wrong things can really slow down the healing process and can cause irritation. The worst-case scenario is that it could actually become infected if not taken care of properly!

The good thing is that the you are finding out how to treat a 1st-degree burn. You will realize just how easy it is to do since they are a mild burn.

First-degree burns rarely get infected if they are cared for properly and left alone to heal.

When to Get Medical Attention

Like any kind of wound, a burn can also require some form of medical attention. Home remedies cannot be used for every situation and it is important to know when to get professional help. Because any kind of wound can become serious if not carefully watched.

There are a few warning signs that can let you know when you may need to get medical attention for your 1st-degree burn. These are important warning signs, so do not ignore them or try to treat the burn on your own once you see these symptoms.

These are some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for and if you see them. You will need to get medical attention to treat your burn as soon as possible.

When you are researching how to treat a 1st-degree burn, you will be able to see that a first-degree burn rarely becomes infected. But there is always a possibility of infection with any kind of wound. So, it is best to be careful no matter what.

A Large Area of Skin is Burned

A good rule to remember with any degree of burn is that if the burned area is larger than your hand, you should get medical assistance.

This is because there is more risk the larger the burn is. As it covers a much larger area of skin which makes it more likely to get infected or make you sick with a fever.

Even if you feel fine at the moment it is a good idea to visit the doctor to have them look at the burn. Especially if it is covering a large area of your body.

Increased Pain and Swelling

If your burn is becoming more painful or has begun to swell more, that is a sign of trouble. And one that should be closely watched.

It is normal for a first-degree burn to be painful for a day or two, even for it to swell for a few hours. But if it is gradually getting worse instead of better you should get medical attention just to be safe.

A wound that is healing should never get worse. If it does, that is a very strong sign that it might be getting infected.

The Burn is Oozing or Smells

If the burn has begun to ooze any kind of liquid, become weepy, or has started to get a strange smell. That is a sign that the burn is most likely already infected.

A burn might occasionally ooze a little clear fluid. But if it is weeping a lot or oozing white liquid, it is most likely infected and needs medical attention.

If a wound developed a particular smell that is also a very clear sign that it has already become infected. These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored and you should get medical attention if you notice them.


A fever is another very strong sign that your burn has become infected.

It is rare to get a fever from a first-degree burn but there is always a possibility. So keep an eye out for signs of fever.

If you have a fever, you should immediately get medical attention before it starts to get worse. Never try to treat a fever at home if it has been caused by a wound! as the fever is usually a sign of infection.

How to Treat a 1st Degree Burn Conclusion

So, there you have it! A simple list of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to how to treat a 1st-degree burn.

When it comes to how to treat a first-degree burn the steps are very simple. And if followed will help your burn to be as good as new before you know it!

A first-degree burn is the mildest type of burn that you can get. As it only affects the very top layer of skin and doesn’t damage the tissue beneath. Making it much less likely to get infected or cause problems.

Burns happen no matter who you are or how careful you are, so it is good to know what to do when it does happen. So that you can take good care of the burn until it is able to heal up on its own.

What do you do when you get a burn? Have you tried any of these burn remedies? If you have let me know in the comments!


Danielle Dresden, 2018, What is A First Degree burn?, Medical News Today, viewed December 31, 2020,

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