Post-burn skin care can come across as a challenging task, overwhelming even, to someone who has sustained serious burn injuries. Even though post-burn skin care extensively depends on the type and severity of the burn, there is a set guide recommended by every physician for a healing process that accompanies the least amount of distress.But before that, it’s necessary for one to be aware of the degree of burn they are dealing with.
The severity of a burn is determined by its “degree”. They classify into three:
FIRST DEGREE BURN:
- Red, painful
- No blisters
- Heals within 3-5 days
SECOND DEGREE BURN:
Superficial Partial Thickness—
- The burn extends beneath the top layer of the skin (epidermis)
- Blisters form
- Heals in 15-25 days
Deep Partial Thickness—
- Blisters, pigmentation and/or scarring may be found
- Heals in 45-60 days
- May require Scar Management
THIRD DEGREE BURN:
- The burn extends through the second layer of the skin (dermis)
- Skin may appear cherry red, white, brown or black
- Blisters may or may not appear
- Little to no pain due to widespread damage to the nerves and tissues
- Specialized treatment is required for healing
The kind of treatment for your skin; inclusive of prescriptions, application of Scar Management, etc., depend upon the severity of your burn, which is why it’s essential to be aware of the same as some precautions may or may not apply to your condition.
Below are a few guidelines to follow for when your skin is recovering post hospitalization:
WASHING & BATHING:
Wash your healed area with a micro-antibacterial soap to lessen the chances of an infection.Soaking in a bathtub, however, is not advisable as the injured skin is cracked and very sensitive.Ensure that the water is cool; not cold nor hot.
The oil-producing glands that normally hydrate your skin are damaged, the result of which is dry, scaly skin. To counter this, ensure that a lubricant is applied and massaged externally at regular intervals. Avoid lotions that contain lanolin, and alcohol. Also, opt for a cream or lotion that is non-comedogenic.
While the skin is healing, it can get itchy. It’s important at all costs, to avoid scratching your already delicate skin. If the itchiness is excessive enough to hinder your daily activities, your specialist may prescribe medications that will provide you with some relief.
Depending on the extremes of your injury, be wary of the amount of physical activity you can take on, especially if the injury is around your joints or bones. Consult your physiotherapist on the activities that you specifically need to avoid during this healing phase.
HEAT, COLD & SUN EXPOSURE:
Your new skin is thin, hyper-sensitive and will burn easily, which is why it’s essential to avoid direct exposure to sunlight. The duration for this will differ on the degree of your injury, so consult with your specialized physician. Wear light-colored clothing that provides you with full coverage. Also, avoid extreme temperatures from contacting your healed or grafted area.
If a pressure garment is recommended, it must be worn throughout the day and taken off only for bathing. Change your garment after each bath. Using sunblock underneath your clothing and pressure garment is essential before stepping outside.
A nutritious diet will fasten your healing process. Your first goal is to maintain a healthy body mass ratio. Eat foods that are rich in protein and essential vitamins like A, C, D and E. Foods like Spirulina, Beans, Tofu, and Nuts are packed with these. It’s necessary to incorporate whole grain foods, fruits, and a lot of vegetables.
For burns that are second degree and above, it is absolutely vital to follow specific skin-care instructions and other dietary requirements that are given by your concerned physician or dietitian and/or physiotherapist. Any irregularities or side effects experienced by you from your treatment should be conveyed to your specialist as well.