First-Degree (Superficial) Burns

Nutrition for Special Groups 3(3+0)

Lesson 35 : Burns

First-Degree (Superficial) Burns

First-degree burns affect only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. The burn site is red, painful, dry, and with no blisters. Mild sunburn is an example. Long-term tissue damage is rare and usually consists of an increase or decrease in the skin color.


In most cases, first-degree burns are caused by the following:

  • mild sunburn
  • flash burn - a sudden, brief burst of heat

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of a first-degree burn.

  • redness
  • dry skin
  • skin that is painful to touch
  • pain usually lasts 48 to 72 hours and then subsides
  • peeling skin

The symptoms of a first-degree burn may resemble other conditions or medical problems.

Last modified: Wednesday, 9 May 2012, 7:58 AM