First degree burns are the least serious type of burn and cause the skin to turn pink. There may be mild swelling and tenderness. It only involves the outer layer of the skin which is the epidermis. The best way to treat these types of burns is to cool it with water and rub a bit of antibiotic cream on it. They heal on their own within a few days.
Second degree burns involve the epidermis and then the second layer of skin as well which is called the dermis. When this kind of burn occurs the epidermis is burned through. There is a lot of redness associated with these kinds of burns and the skin will blister, often leaving scars. Second degree burns may take up to three weeks to heal. They are considered minor if they cover 15% or less of the body of an adult and 10% or less on the body of a child. Treatment for second degree burns require medical attention and medication.
For first and second degree burns (if the area is less than 3 inches in diameter) it is important to cool the burn. This can be done by running cool water over it for 10-15 minnutes. Apply gauze loosely but do not use material such as cotton ball as it may get stuck to the burn. An over the counter pain reliever may be taken.
Third degree burns are very serious. These burns include all layers of the skin and often cause damage to other tissues, organs, etc. This skin gets charred and there may be black, brown, or white patches. These burns cause severe scarring and skin graphs are often required. Sometimes these burns do not cause pain because nerve endings are damaged. People with these burns require immediate medical attention. It is important to not remove clothing and do not submerse in water. Elevate the burned parts of the body if possible and cover. Also, check for circulation.