Like many teenagers in Canada, one of my first jobs was at a fast food restaurant. Most McDonald’s, Wendy, Burger King or Dairy Queen alumni can attest to the scarring, painful burn of a fry basket grid branded on your forearm in a hasty, Saturday afternoon, lunch hour rush, or the little triangle shaped, bun toaster scars, ne blisters. Even if we want to forget our humble, greasy beginnings, our bodies might not be so quick to forgive and forget. Some of us were branded with lasting scars worse than others; the deeper the burn on our skins, the deeper the scar in our psyches. So; what kind of burns left these indelible marks – first, second or third degree burns? What is the difference between the three?
First degree burns are your typical sun burn. There are no blisters involved. Your skin is red or pink in appearance and painful to touch. Repeated sunburns are linked with an increased risk of skin cancer later in life. They take about 5-10 days to heal and affect only the epidermis, or outermost layer of skin.
There are two types of Second degree burns. The first one that extends into the upper layer of the dermis, is generally moist on the surface with blisters, and incredibly painful. They can take several weeks to heal, but generally leave no scar. The second type of Second degree burns extend deep in the the dermis layer of the skin, tend to be dry to the touch, require much longer to heal than the first type of Second degree burn and may require surgery or skin grafts to correct.
Third degree burns are the deepest of the three types and extend all the way through the epidermis and dermis. These burns are hard, and white or brown in colour. They are painless, but healing can take months, if at all, and may require extensive surgery or even amputation to correct. Third degree burns can extend into fat tissue or even bone – It’s hard to imagine any fry basket doing this.
I am not a medical professional; just a curious woman who likes to write and satisfy idle curiosities. Please don’t take my descriptions as medical advice.