Burns are assessed by how seriously your skin is damaged and which layers of skin are affected.
Your skin has 3 layers:
the epidermis – the outer layer of skin
the dermis – the layer of tissue just beneath, which contains blood capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands and hair follicles
the subcutaneous fat, or subcutis – the deeper layer of fat and tissue
There are 4 main types of burn, which tend to have a different appearance and different symptoms:
superficial epidermal burn – where the epidermis is damaged; your skin will be red, slightly swollen and painful, but not blistered
superficial dermal burn – where the epidermis and part of the dermis are damaged; your skin will be pale pink and painful, and there may be small blisters
deep dermal or partial thickness burn – where the epidermis and the dermis are damaged; this type of burn makes your skin turn red and blotchy; your skin may be dry or moist and become swollen and blistered, and it may be very painful or painless
full thickness burn – where all 3 layers of skin (the epidermis, dermis and subcutis) are damaged; the skin is often burnt away and the tissue underneath may appear pale or blackened, while the remaining skin will be dry and white, brown or black with no blisters, and the texture of the skin may also be leathery or waxy
Preventing burns and scalds
Many severe burns and scalds affect babies and young children.
Examples of things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of your child having a serious accident at home include:
keeping your child out of the kitchen whenever possible
testing the temperature of bath water using your elbow before you put your baby or toddler in the bath
keeping matches, lighters and lit candles out of young children's sight and reach