Cigarette burns on skin occur when the burning end of a cigarette touches your skin. This could be on your chin, hand, thigh, or any exposed part of your skin.
Cigarette burns can occur as simple accidents like brushing the lit end of a cigarette in a crowded place or casual dropping of cigarette flickers on your skin.
However, cigarette burns on the skin are not entirely accidents, they are also a common form of abuse.
There are different types of cigarette burns on skin, some of which could leave long-lasting scars. First-degree cigarette burns are burns to the top layer of the skin. This type of cigarette burn does not leave scars.
Second-degree and third-degree cigarette burns make injuries deep past the top layers of the skin. These types of cigarette burns leave permanent scars.
Is cigarette burn on skin an emergency?
Cigarette burns can be an emergency depending on what part of your skin got burnt, and the extent of the burn.
Burns from cigarettes are emergencies if the burns are;
- On your face: Facial burns might heal but they would have an impact on your appearance for some time. For this reason, it is best to get it checked on time.
- Across a joint: Burns on joints could lead to contractures in the future. Contractures form when the scar thickens and tightens to prevent movement.
This can be prevented if the person is put on a splint.
- If the burn turns white: This indicates a third-degree burn as deep tissues are injured. It is an emergency.
- If the burn is painful: Normally, burns are painful, but they can be sorted with over-the-counter medications.
However, if the burn is still painful, there might be an underlying reason that should be checked, like an infection.
- Infected burns: If not managed properly, cigarette burns could get infected. One symptom of an infected burn is oozing of fluid and pain.
How do you treat cigarette burns on skin?
As cigarette burns might cause scars, treating cigarette burns must be immediate to prevent these scars.
Also, there are different treatments for the different types of cigarette burns.
Treatment of first-degree cigarette burns
First-degree cigarette burns are superficial, swollen, and painful to touch. The burn could leave on its own after a few days without a scar. However, you still need small treatments to prevent infections.
- Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to the injury. The cold temperature would reduce the swelling and pain of the burn.
- Cover the wound with a clean bandage that is non-adhesive.
- For extra care, you can take over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the pain.
While treating first-degree cigarette burns on the skin, do not apply ointments, toothpaste, or butter to the injury. They might cause an infection.
Treatment of second-degree cigarette burns
Second-degree cigarette burns have a glossy appearance and fluid leaks over the blisters. They take 2-3 weeks to heal completely and might not leave a scar if treated properly.
The treatments for second-degree cigarette burns include;
- Applying cold temperature to the burn for 10-15 minutes. You can do this either by applying a cold compress or by soaking the burn in cold water.
- After that, dry the burn with a clean cloth and cover the injury with clean gauze.
Again, do not apply ointments to a cigarette burn. Also, do not peel the blisters off a healing burn injury.
Suppose that there is a need of applying ointments to the burn, you can rub Vitamin E or Aloe vera gel on the burn.
If you notice any sign of infection, treat the injury as an emergency. Some symptoms of infected burns are increased pain, oozing fluid from the area, swelling, redness of the area around the burn, and bad odor from the injury.
Treatment of third-degree cigarette burns on skin
All third-degree cigarette burns are emergencies. Simply cover the burn with a clean cloth and go to the nearest hospital or clinic for good treatment.
How do I prevent a cigarette burns?
To prevent cigarette burns on skin, you need to, first of all, prevent cigarette burns. You can prevent a cigarette burn by;
- Stop smoking: Smoking causes some bad health conditions like lung cancer, heart diseases, weak immune system, etc.
- Do not drop lit cigarettes around. Especially if you have children in your home or area, as they can burn themselves with it.
- Do not smoke while lying down or feeling asleep. You might drop the cigarette on your body and cause an injury.
- Do not stand close to people that hold hit cigarettes in crowded places. You can mistakenly get burnt.
However, if you already have a burn wound, you can prevent a scar with the following steps;
- Do not touch the injury or peel off the blisters around it. It can delay the healing process and cause a scar.
- If the blisters are mistakenly open, you can apply honey or bacitracin ointment to prevent infections and hasten the healing process.
- Wear tight clothes. Medical practitioners advise people with severe burns to wear fitting clothes. Others with light burns can wear general-purpose clothes.
How long do cigarette burns last?
Again, this depends on the type of burn. But overall, the scars start fading after the first 6 months. After 2 years, the scars from a cigarette burn must have disappeared, but if they don’t, then it’s a permanent scar.
Most permanent cigarette scars are gotten from abuse. These scars have a prominent circular wound that is the exact shape of a cigarette head.
Although they can be found in adults, they are mostly found in children alongside other abuse injuries. Call the National Child Abuse Hotline (800-422-4453) to report any case of child abuse.
How to get rid of cigarette burns scars?
The best treatment against scars is to manage the injury properly. However, if the scar is already formed, the following remedies can be used;
- Applying silicone gel on scars can help to reduce the size and intensity.
- Ultraviolet rays from the sun can make scars darker. So, protect the scar from the sun to heal it faster.
- Do not use over-the-counter scar removers. Most of them are yet to be proven effective.
- If a burn scar is physiologically disturbing, you can remove some of the scar tissue. You can do this with laser treatments, steroid injections, or surgery.
Cigarette burns on skin can be gotten accidentally or intentionally. There are different types of cigarette burns and different treatments for them.
To prevent getting a scar, you have to treat and manage the injury properly.
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