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How Long Does It Take to Heal a Second Degree Burn?

By Alissa Pond Mentzer ; Updated July 27, 2017

Second degree burns may take up to three weeks to heal depending on the location, size and depth. Proper care can shorten the time it takes to heal these burns, while infection can lengthen healing time.

Defined

Burns that extend beyond the top layer of skin to the dermis below are classified as second degree burns. These burns are red, swollen, painful and wet-looking. They may also produce blisters.

Treatments

Second degree burns can be treated at home if they are small and do not cover the face, hands, genitals or a major joint. Burns in these areas or any burn greater than two inches in diameter should be treated by a doctor to shorten healing time and minimize complications.

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Process

According to Penn State University Medical Center, second degree burns can take 10 days to three weeks to heal. However, the healed skin can remain sensitive to sunlight for up to a year. Taking supplements such as zinc and vitamins C and E may promote healing. Avoiding infection and allowing air contact with the burn can also speed the healing process.

Considerations

The depth and size of the burn area affect the length of healing time. Burns with a large surface area or that extend deep into the dermis take longer to heal. Infection can also prolong the healing process.

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