- Immediately apply a cold compress or run very cold water over the area to decrease the temperature of your skin.
- Apply an ointment with petrolatum (such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment) to keep the area moist, and cover it with a bandage.
- Wash the area with cool water twice a day, pat dry, and reapply the ointment.
- Rub butter on a burn, which can lead to infection.
- Use peroxide, alcohol, or witch hazel, all of which dry skin and slow the formation of new skin cells.
- The pain worsens; there’s swelling, a bloody discharge, or pus; or the area isn’t improving after a few days. You may have a second- or third-degree burn. (A first-degree burn resembles a popped blister. Second- and third-degree burns look like deep ulcers.) Both are at increased risk of infection and scarring and may call for antibiotics, special dressings, or even skin grafts.