First degree burn treatment

Abnormal exposure to temperature causes skin damage. Minor burns are usually described as first-degree burns. Before commencing treatment steps below, which are based on NHS recommendations, stop the burning process as soon as possible and remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin, including babies' nappies. Do not try to remove anything adhering to the burnt skin, as this could cause more damage. 1

Graphic representation of a running tap to illustrate the cooling with running water as a wound treatment step in the Leukoplast wound care advisor.

1. Cool the burn:

“Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes as soon as possible after the injury.” 1
Graphic representation of a magnifying glass with an exclamation mark as a symbol for the strict observance of hygiene rules during wound treatment.


“Never use ice, iced water, or any creams or greasy substances like butter.” 1 Do not break the blisters! This is likely to contaminate the wound.
Graphic representation of hand washing as a wound treatment step in the Leukoplast wound care advisor.

3. If you are an assisting person: Wash your hands!

Wash and dry your hands thoroughly.
Graphic representation of a hand applying a wound dressing to another wrist to symbolise covering the wound as a treatment step.

4. Cover the burn:

By placing a layer of cling film over it.1 Consider the need for pain relief.1 See below for when to seek medical advise. For minor burns consider the use of an appropriate dressing

When to seek medical advice

Only minor burns such as hand or finger burns should be treated at home and by cooling. A visit to the doctor is necessary, if:

  • the burn is larger than the affected person’s hand.
  • the affected person is pregnant, a child or elderly.
  • the affected person goes into shock.
  • the burn is caused by chemicals, electricity or radioactivity.
  • burns that cause white or charred skin – any size.
  • burns on the face, hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals that cause blisters.1

When in doubt, see a medical expert

Many common wounds can be dealt with at home. But when should a doctor be consulted? Scroll down for more information!

Pictogram showing a medical expert.