Burns are grouped into different categories based on how deeply your skin has been harmed. These are called “degrees.” You can have a first-, second-, third-, or fourth-degree burn. The higher the degree, the more severe the burn is.
First-degree. These burns only affect the outer layer of your skin. A mild sunburn’s one example. Your skin may be red and painful, but you won’t have any blisters.
Second-degree. If you have this type of burn, the outer layer of your skin as well the dermis – the layer underneath – has been damaged. Your skin will be bright red, swollen, and may look shiny and wet. You’ll see blisters, and the burn will hurt to the touch.
Third-degree. Sometimes called a “full thickness burn,” this type of injury destroys two full layers of your skin. Instead of turning red, it may appear black, brown, white or yellow. It won’t hurt because this type of burn damages nerve endings.
Fourth-degree. This is the deepest and most severe of burns. They’re potentially life-threatening. These burns destroy all layers of your skin, as well as your bones, muscles, and tendons.
Sometimes, the degree of burn you have will change. This can happen if your damaged skin keeps spreading and the injury becomes deeper.
Burn pain can be one of the most intense and prolonged types of pain. Burn pain is difficult to control because of its unique characteristics, its changing patterns, and its various components. In addition, there is pain involved in the treatment of burns, as the wounds must be cleansed and the dressings changed. Aaggressive pain treatments are needed for severe burns.