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Types of Burns

Types of Burns

Burns are generally categorized in three ways by the tissue damage-- first degree, second degree, and third degree. Depending on the layer of the tissue affected, each type of burn causes various damage and requires different treatment.

First Degree

First degree burns are mild and only affect the top layer of the skin (epidermis). Upon damage, the skin usually turns red and can be painful but no blisters form. Depending on the area of the body, the tissue is usually keratinized stratified squamous epithelium. The keratinized nature of the layer makes

the tissue tough and stratified squamous is self-replacing so recovering from these wounds are relatively simple and quick.

Second Degree

Second degree burns are more serious than first degree burns and extend to the dermis layer of the skin. With second degree burns, you may observe swelling, blistering, and redness. The dermis includes connective tissue which is composed of collagen, elastin, nerves, hair follicles, and blood vessels. Second degree burns may cause loss of feeling in the area affected if the nerves are damaged. People may also suffer from hair loss due to loss of hair follicles. Another important component of the dermis is sweat glands, which play a vital role in the homeostatic regulation of the body by controlling body temperature through releasing sweat to cool the body. Depending on the severity of the case, patients may need longer recovery times and potentially skin grafting.

Third Degree

In third degree burns, all layers of the skin are affected, starting from the epidermis and reaching down to the subcutaneous tissue. Since the nerves in the dermis are destroyed, many third degree burn cases feel no pain. To treat third degree burns, skin grafting may be needed as well as hospital care depending on the extensiveness of the burn.


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