These burns involve only the epidermis, the colour of which may vary from pink to red. They usually heal within three to six days and can be quite painful. The outer layer of skin may peel away and reveal new healed skin underneath with no residual scarring. A common example of superficial burns is sunburn.

Partial Thickness

This category can be divided into two sections - superficial partial thickness and deep partial thickness burns.

Superficial partial thickness burns involve the epidermis and dermis, it will often be bright red, blistered and painful. These burns can take up to 21 days to heal usually with no scarring.

Deep partial thickness burns will include all of the epidermis, and deep into the dermis, the site of insult may be dry or wet, and capillary refill will be reduced, sensation to pressure remains intact, and the site is less painful. These burns take a long time to heal and may result in hyper tropic scarring, requiring medical intervention.

Full Thickness

These burns will involve all layers of the skin, and possibly subcutaneous fat, muscle and bone. They may present as charred, waxy, mottled, leathery, pale and dry, and will be firm to the touch. These burns are in a semi-anaesthetic state and will not be sensitive to pain and light touch, they will require advanced medical intervention and hospitalization.