Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Burns Second Degree

Second degree burns extend deeper into the skin, but do not involve all 3 layers. Second-degree burns can be superficial or deep.

Superficial second degree burns involve not only the epidermis, but also a portion of the next skin layer, called the dermis. There is not injury to the deeper layer of the dermis, which contains the sweat glands and the hair follicles. These burns are also called superficial partial-thickness burns.

Second degree burns are usually due to household hazards such as scalding from hot liquids, faulty heating pads or misuse of ignition fluids.

Deep second degree burns, or deep partial-thickness burns, involve the deep layers of the dermis, which contain the sweat glands and the hair follicles. These burns are often difficult to distinguish from full-thickness burns. The skin appears charred and is tender.

Common causes of deep second degree burns include:

  • Hot oil
  • Steam
  • Flame

Continue to Burns Third Degree

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Burns References
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  3. Phillips BJ, Kassir A, Anderson B, Schiller WR. Recreational-outdoor burns: the impact and severity--a retrospective review of 107 patients. Burns. 1998 Sep;24(6):559-61. [9776095]
  4. Smith MA, Munster AM, Spence RJ. Burns of the hand and upper limb--a review. Burns. 1998 Sep;24(6):493-505. [9776087]
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