Burn Depth and Degree (Not Size)

It can be hard to tell how deep a burn is.

  • A fourth-degree burn goes through the skin and fatty tissue to injure muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and bones.
  • A third-degree burn goes through all the skin layers to the fatty tissue beneath. The skin is dry and swollen and may be pale white or charred black. This kind of burn destroys the nerves, so it may not hurt except on the edges.
  • A second-degree burn involves several layers of skin. The skin may be swollen, puffy, moist, or blistered.
  • A first-degree burn affects only the outer layer of skin. The skin is dry and hurts when you touch it. A mild sunburn is a first-degree burn.

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