Burns are the result of exposure to extreme or prolonged heat causing different degrees of damage to the skin. Only the outer layer of skin is affected in first degree burns, which involve redness and discomfort but no actual blistering or destruction of flesh. The next layer of skin may be penetrated by second degree burns, which involve raised blisters, sometimes destroyed hair follicles or sweat glands and often involve serious infectious complications. Complete destruction of the skin tissue occurs in third degree burns, which involve damage to deeper tissues, leaving the skin either charred or whitened. Sunburns are usually only first degree, but may sometimes be second degree burns. Although not severe, they cause great discomfort due to the large surface area they occupy. For serious burns or those covering a large area, medical aid should be sought immediately.
Regardless of the degree of burn or scald, the best first aid to use is cold water to take the heat out. It is also important to guard against the complications of dehydration, shock and infection. For minor burns, after soaking the burn in cold water to return body temperature to normal, apply a healing salve like Trauma Ointment. Leave it on, adding to it as necessary until the burn is entirely healed. Use straight Aloe Vera gel or alternate with a salve made of honey, wheat germ oil and olive oil. Honey salve, with equal parts of honey and wheat germ oil blended with powdered comfrey, is a very good remedy, but probably the best remedy is pure Aloe Vera gel or juice. Pain can be relieved by bathing with diluted apple cider vinegar, while Vitamin E oil is extremely beneficial to aid the rebuilding of burned tissue (don’t put on burn until it has returned to body temperature). To prevent scarring once healing is under way, apply gumweed ointment or calendula ointment.
PABA, a B vitamin, taken internally or applied locally, will help prevent sunburn. Sunblock Protection Factor (SPF) relates to the amount of time it takes to get a sunburn. Products carrying a SPF 5 label claim to reduce burning so that a sunburn would occur in a period five times longer than normal. SPF 15 is generally considered the maximum effective protection, even though products with higher ratings can be purchased. Do not use Vitamin E on burns that are infected or when there is risk of infection, as it can interfere with the infection-fighting ability of the white blood cells.
Single Herbs: Aloe Vera gel, Calendula, Comfrey ointment, Gumweed ointment.
Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin A (10,000-20,000 IU), B complex, PABA (50-100 mg), Vitamin C (3000-5000 mg), Vitamin E (800 IU) plus topical application, Zinc (10 mg), Essential Fatty Acids.