Accidents do happen. Whether you catch yourself on a hot frying pan, touch the inside of the oven or get a bit too close to a boiling kettle, the occasional minor burn injury is just a fact of kitchen life.
Minor burns are those that damage only the top layers of the skin; they’re also known as first-degree burns or superficial burns. Left untreated, the area of contact quickly turns red and painful, with blisters developing soon afterwards.
Assuming your injury is very minor and doesn’t require a trip to A&E, there are many ways to deal with it straight away. The trick is to act fast: treat any burns or scalds as soon as possible to limit the amount of damage to your skin.
Most people will reach for the burns cream from their kitchen’s first aid box, and perhaps take paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease any pain. However, there are plenty of reliable natural remedies that will help your skin heal quickly – including some unusual ones you may not have come across.
Common wisdom tells us that we should immediately place the affected area under running water to keep the injury from spreading. Make sure the water is lukewarm and keep it running for at least 20 minutes. It’s important never to use ice or very cold water, as this can restrict blood flow to the skin and increase tissue damage.
Tea seems to be the answer to everything! Black tea contains tannic acid, which acts as a heat sink, drawing excess heat from the burn and relieving pain. Simply place a couple of cool, wet teabags on the injury.
Soothing, healing and with antibacterial properties, honey is a well-known ancient remedy in wound care, endorsed by modern medicine. Apply a thin layer to the burnt area for a cooling effect, to relieve pain and protect the skin from infection.
#4. White Vinegar
Make a compress soaked in diluted vinegar or apply directly to the burn with a cotton pad. Vinegar contains acetic acid (also used in aspirin) which helps to relieve pain, inflammation and itching. It draws heat away from the site of the injury and makes it less painful. It is also an antiseptic and astringent, meaning it will shield the affected skin area from infection.
#5. Lavender Essential Oil
Discovered by the French chemist Rene Maurice Gatefosse in the early 1900s, the healing properties of lavender are now well documented: it helps fight infection, lessens blistering and scarring and promotes healing. Mix a teaspoon of pure lavender essential oil in 50ml of water in a small spray bottle and cover the burn injury with a fine mist of the lavender solution as necessary. You can even apply lavender oil undiluted, directly onto the affected skin area.
#6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a cooling and healing effect on the skin. An excellent source of vitamin E, coconut oil also contains fatty acids that have antibacterial and antifungal properties that will stop your skin from becoming infected. Apply generously to keep the skin supple and moisturized while preventing peeling, blistering and scarring.
#7. Aloe Vera
A traditional remedy for treating first-degree burns, there have also been many scientific studies to support the effectiveness of aloe vera as a burns wound healer. If you have an aloe plant in your kitchen, simply cut off a leaf and apply the sap directly to the affected skin area for pain and inflammation relief, to reduce swelling and to promote skin repair. As an alternative, you can use an aloe vera gel from the chemist.
Another classic minor burns remedy, raw potato has been shown to have antibacterial effects and speeds up healing. Try placing a freshly cut slice of raw potato directly onto the affected area. Better still, dice a small slice until really juicy and mushy, and apply the paste.
#9. Cling Film
Cover the burn in layers of cling film or plastic sheets to relieve heatsore skin. This acts as a heat sink, getting rid of excess heat and relieving pain from burns.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Surrey-based kitchen specialist Price Kitchens, who were consulted over this post.