Burn injuries affect many people every year, but a much smaller number of those burns are third-degree.
What exactly are the categories of burn injury? How do burns end up classified as one over the other?
Surface level burns
Healthline takes a look at burns of all description. There are surface burns, or first-degree burns, at one end. These are the mildest of burns. If a person has ever experienced a sunburn before, this is often a first-degree burn.
Burns at this level only affect the outermost layer of the skin. Though it is often painful to the touch, the pain is manageable with over-the-counter painkillers and ointments such as aloe vera gel. These burns will often peel and blister over time and do not require extensive medical intervention.
Partial thickness burns
Second-degree burns, or partial thickness burns, come next. This can extend to the second layer of skin and may result in scarring. Often, these burns will blister. More intensive medical care is usually necessary.
A second-degree burn on the face, or one elsewhere that is larger than 3 inches in diameter, counts as a serious injury.
Full thickness burns
Finally, full-thickness burns, or third-degree burns, round out the list as the most severe. A third-degree burn extends through all layers of flesh and can even penetrate the muscle or burn the bone in particularly intense cases.
These burns are always considered serious injuries no matter the size or location. They often have extreme and dangerous complications. This is why medical intervention is a crucial necessity.