What is a burn?

A burn is partial or full damage to the skin, which is caused by the action of heat, electricity or chemical substances.


The seriousness of the burn depends on:

  • the size
  • the depth
  • the location(s) of the burn
  • age
  • additional injuries

First, second and third degree

  • First-degree burns: the skin is just a bit red and painful. This gets better quickly and does not require hospital treatment.
  • Second-degree burns: only the top level of the skin is affected. These burns can heal on their own after treatment with a cream or a special dressing. A second-degree burn heals within two to three weeks.
  • Third-degree burns: the whole thickness of the skin has been entirely lost. Unless very small, a skin transplant is needed for these wounds to heal.


Deep second and third degree burns always leave a scar.

Admission to hospital

Almost everyone experiences burns at some point in their lives. The scale of these usually means that a plaster or a visit to their doctor is all that is needed.


However, if the burns are too extensive or too deep, or if there are complications, then admission to hospital or even a specialist center is necessary.