6 foolproof steps for treating hot tool burns

Hot tools are a real blessing. Whether they allow you to create sleek straight hair or cool-girl curls, they are undoubtedly one of the beauty industry’s greatest inventions.

That is, until you lose focus for a split second and a 180 degree (or hotter) tool burn hits you. While styling tool burns aren’t usually too serious, they still require some attention.

So, if you’ve suffered a heat-related injury in the name of amazing hair, we’re here for you. We asked Dr Samantha Eisman, a dermatologist at Sinclair Dermatology, about the best way to treat heat styling burns…

Cooling the burned area
This may not surprise you, but the first (and most important) thing to do after a burn with a hot tool is to cool the area. Eisman recommends placing the burned area under running cool water if possible, or applying a cool compress to the area for 20 minutes. Removing heat from the burn is vital, Eisman explains, as cooling prevents the wound from continuing to develop and affect the deeper layers of the skin.

Assessing the damage
Before you can properly treat a burn, you need to determine the extent of the damage. Burns caused by hot tools are most commonly superficial, meaning that only the outer layer of skin is affected.” They show up as pain and redness, but will not blister and will heal within 10 to 12 days,” explains Eisman. Alternatively, ‘partial burns’ can occur, meaning that the first and second layers of skin are affected.” She added: “These burns are also painful and red, but they tend to blister. The rarest type of hot tool burn is the ‘full-thickness’ burn, which is becoming more frequent, especially in young children and children who have accidentally touched a heated iron, and they involve all layers of the skin. These are the types that need special attention.” These burns are painless, burnt, dry and leathery and are a medical emergency requiring urgent medical attention,” advises Eisman.

Applying a soothing burn gel
If you’ve decided you don’t need emergency medical treatment and your burns are only superficial, Eisman recommends using a first aid burn gel such as Burnaid gel (Chemist Warehouse, $7.99) after rinsing the wound under cold water.

Keeping the wound moist
According to Eisman, the best way to ensure that a burn doesn’t leave a scar is to keep the wound moist. To do this, continue to apply a moisturising ointment like Vaseline (Chemist Warehouse, $4.49) as often as possible in the days following the burn. She adds that antibiotic ointments (under a doctor’s supervision) can also be used to care for the wound and prevent infection.

Increase the SPF
“Once the covered skin is no longer scabbed and the skin is intact, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily and keep the burned area away from the sun,” says Eisman. Doing so will protect the sensitive area and reduce the chance of scarring. Our pick? Ego QV Facial Day Cream SPF 30 (Chemist Warehouse, $18.69). Designed to hydrate and soothe sensitive skin, it also provides protection so it will keep the burnt area out of the sun without making it worse.

Hold off on the make-up
While you may well be tempted to use concealer to cover up your burns, Eisman warns against it. Covering burns (especially those in the early stages) with make-up “can irritate the wound and delay healing. If you need to cover a wound, then use a wound-healing dressing such as DuoDerm Extra Thin Single Layer Dressing (Chemist Warehouse, $9.49) and put make-up over it,” she adds.


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