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How Do I Treat a Steam Burn?

Aloe vera gel can be used to treat minor burns.
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  • Written By: Melanie Smeltzer
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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A steam burn occurs when rising steam makes contact with the skin, causing the skin to become red and irritated. Severe steam burns may require a visit to the emergency room. Milder ones, however, can often be treated at home with cool compresses, aloe vera gel, or even honey.

The first step to treating a steam burn is to assess the severity of the burn. Burns that appear red and white but are not very painful may require medical attention, as these burns may be deep and damage may have been done to the nerve endings. If the burn is superficial, it is important to move away from the steamy location and keep the damaged area clean and cool.

Although cooling the location is important, you should never use ice directly on the steam burn, as it can further damage the area. Running cool water or liquid over the burn is generally sufficient. A cold compress may also help reduce the warmth of the burn. The compress should be held against the skin for three to five minutes.

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If the stream burn begins to develop blisters, you may want to seek medical attention, as these blisters can become infected. If that is not possible, simple first aid techniques may be used. The affected area should be thoroughly cleansed with a gentle antiseptic and covered with bandages. Bandages should be changed a few times a day to prevent infection from forming. Although it can take a while for the skin to recover, blisters should be allowed to heal on their own and should never be popped or touched.

A superficial steam burn may also benefit from the use of certain remedies. For example, aloe vera gel may be coated over the affected area to soothe the burn and help speed up the healing process. Honey is another common home remedy for burns. In this instance, place a thick coating of raw or unfiltered honey to the affected area, then tightly cover with plastic wrap for up to 48 hours. This is said to help heal the skin and protect it from infection.

A mixture of mashed over-ripe bananas and rosewater is said to help draw heat from the steam burn. In addition, some recommend making a paste of sandalwood, turmeric, and olive oil. This is only recommended for minor burns, however, as oily products are thought to keep heat in rather than get rid of it.

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Discuss this Article

amysamp
Post 8

It seems like when I have been small burn, rushing to the sink and running cold tap water over the burn seems to help relieve some of the pain. There are quite a few other ways to help relieve the burn pain, as mentioned in this article, and other ones not mentioned here.

For example, the first thing you want to do after a steam burn, according to most doctors, is run the burn under cold water or soak in a cold bath for five minutes. Next, you can apply gauze over the burn, to help protect and heal it faster. Then, when the burn cools, you should put a skin lotion on it, with soothing ingredients, like aloe vera and/or honey.

Be careful not to pick or poke at a blister or burn, as this can cause more pain and potentially further injury.

Mostly with any kind of burn, blister, scab, etc. it is best to leave it alone at let your body heal itself. Do not mess with anything, unless a doctor tells you otherwise.

runner101
Post 7

I stay out of the kitchen at most costs, so there is little chance that I will get a steam burn, but I will tell this to the majority of friends who love to cook and prepare food.

I figured aloe vera would work on a minor steam burn, as it helps on minor sun burn, as I have had way too many times.

I did not know honey was so useful and helpful, especially when it comes to superficial steam burns. Most people seem to have honey somewhere in their pantry, so this seems like a very fitting anecdote to the problem. I think it seems like a good idea to keep as many of these burn relieving ingredients in a place that is likely for someone to burn themselves.

It seems wise to keep honey, and other burn-relieving items in the within easy grabbing distance, in case of a minor burn. Of course if you have children you should put all unsafe products out of their reach.

cloudel
Post 6

@StarJo - Butter is at the top of the list of what not to put on a steam burn. Butter can actually cause the area to become infected. I’m sure your grandmother had probably heard the old wives’ tale that has been around forever about butter being good to treat a burn with, but like many old tales, it is a myth.

If you ever suffer another steam burn, you should try the honey wrap mentioned in this article. If you would rather go the aloe vera route, that would be so much better than butter.

Also, I would like to mention that if a burn covers more than three inches of your skin, you should see a doctor, because this is considered a major burn. I had a steam burn that stretched out across four inches of my arm, and my doctor told me that anything over three requires medical help.

StarJo
Post 5

I had no idea before reading this article that there was anything you could do to draw heat out from a burn. Who would have thought that bananas and roses could accomplish this?

I sure wish I had known this when I got a steam burn earlier this year. The spot stayed hot for days, like it had a high fever. I did what you’re supposed to and applied cool water to it, but that didn’t do much for the heat way down in the burn.

My grandmother told me to put butter on it, but I wasn’t sure about that. Does anyone know if butter is supposed to help a burn heal?

OeKc05
Post 4

@lighth0se33 - My doctor told me that blisters help the skin underneath to heal. The protect the sensitive, damaged skin with their bubble of flesh, and once the pop on their own, it means that they have done their job and are no longer necessary.

I say this because, in my experience, blisters form so fast that there is no way to prevent them, and also because doing so would be counterproductive. Once they form, then using aloe vera on them will definitely help them heal faster, and it will make you feel better as you recover.

lighth0se33
Post 3

I have used aloe vera gel on sunburns before, and it has been able to prevent my skin from peeling off. Does anyone know if it can prevent blisters from forming after a steam burn if you apply it immediately?

I have never gotten burned by steam, but I do have several pots with holes in the lids to release steam, and I worry that I will one day get burned by one of them. I’d like to know if there is a way to prevent blisters before they form.

bagley79
Post 2

Most steam burns happen in the kitchen, so if anyone in my family gets one, I have them immediately run cold water over it.

Since the sink is right there, that is the quickest and easiest thing to provide steam burn relief.

My experience has been that these heal pretty quickly when left alone. The only thing I have ever put on one is a little bit of aloe vera gel.

If I don't have any of this on hand, I just don't worry about it. The burn will heal on its own without any kind of special lotion, butter or oil.

Fortunately our steam burns have all been minor, so this has always worked well for me. If it was a major burn, I am sure there would be things that would help with the healing and itching of the burn.

andee
Post 1

Steam burns happen so fast, and yet they can remain red and painful for days. I have had steam burns on my fingers from opening up a bag of microwave popcorn.

One of the best treatments I use for steam burns is lavender essential oil. I keep a small bottle of this is a drawer by the stove. Whenever I get any kind of burn, I apply some of this oil and it has never blistered when I do this.

I usually make sure to apply this 2-3 times for a couple days and it is amazing how quickly the burn will heal.

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