I care for myself. What do I need to do or look out for during the healing process?

1. When will my burns be healed?

It takes superficial second degree burns about two to three weeks to form a new layer of skin. Deeper burns take longer, and we will talk to you about how skin grafting can shorten the healing time and give better functional results.

2. Can I let my wounds air out like my grandmother used to tell me?

Dry wounds take longer to heal, get infected more often, and are very uncomfortable. But if you want to dry them out, it’s your choice.

3. Why are my grafts/wounds/donor sites so purple?

That’s the extra blood that the body sends to heal the tissue. The blood comes into these areas but doesn’t return to the heart as easily as it did before you were burned. Wearing your ace wraps and pressure garments will help return the blood to the heart and make your wounds less purple.

4. Why is my healed skin still so red?

Even though there is a new layer of skin on top of the wound, it is still going through a very active healing process. The skin is constantly being broken down and built back up again. In order to do this, the body requires extra blood flow, which means more little blood vessels (capillaries), giving the skin its red color.

5. How long will it take for my wounds to completely heal?

Generally about a year, but some take less, some take longer.

6. How do I know if something is going wrong with my wounds?

Infections may occur in the normal skin around the burn. Changes like redness, warmth, increased tenderness, or swelling are signs of the infection we call cellulitis. Let us know immediately if something does NOT look right to you.

7. Why do I get blisters in skin that was healed?

Normally the top layer of the skin is locked into the bottom layer, but after a burn the top layer comes off very easily, causing a blister. This can happen on donor sites, too. After about six months, the skin toughens up.