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Barbeque (B-B-Q) Burns and Scars – How to Treat Them

Who says barbecuing is only great during the warm summer season? Grilling is actually much more fun amidst the cool autumn air as the family huddles over a mini bonfire at night. But as you use your trusty gas grill, it’s still important to consider the dangers and injuries of barbecue grilling.

For example, accidents can happen as you keep the gas running while lighting the burners. Explosions and fires can also start due to gas grill manufacturing defects, propane leaks, poorly installed gas lines, or accidentally breaking the grill and its line. 

In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reported about 10,600 cases of home grill accidents that resulted in outdoor fires and the destruction of home structures. Moreover, of this number, about 64% are associated with fire injuries, of which burns and scars were the most prevalent. 

Read below to learn more about bbq burns and scars and how to treat such injuries. 

What are the three types of barbecue burns?

Burns are the most common grilling-related injuries. A survey even suggests that burn incidents (due to gas grilling) treated in the ER rose by 18% over the past ten years. A barbecue burn can be caused by several different reasons, such as the following:

  • Standing too close to the flaming grill.
  • Touching a hot object, such as the grill cover or food.
  • Body parts drenched in oil or grease.
  • Gas leaks and grill defects that can result in an explosion or sudden burst of flames.
  • Flash burn

Most bbq burns can result in various injuries, such as mild blisters, corneal burns, or full-on burns, mostly on the upper extremity. There are also three types of burn injuries depending on their severity, and they are as follows:

First degree burn

A first-degree burn refers to the simplest type of burn wherein only the superficial or epidermis layer of the skin gets injured. It is a mild burn injury that can cause milder symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and redness in the affected skin. 

Since only the topmost layer was burned, the pain and redness will peel away, which means it’s already starting to heal. This usually happens after a day or two of the incident. 

However, if a large area of the skin gets first-degree burns, then you might experience much more pain and swelling. Plus, such injuries usually heal a lot slower than smaller first-degree burns. 

Second degree burn

A second-degree burn refers to burn injuries that affect both the epidermis and dermis (deeper layers composed of soft tissues, blood vessels, and nerve endings)  part of the skin. This type of injury causes mild to moderate pain, swelling, and other distinct symptoms, such as:

  • Blistering in the skin
  • Wet and shiny skin appearance
  • Skin discoloration of deep red to dark brown.
  • Skin peeling

Additionally, second-degree burns can leave different kinds of scars, such as hypertrophic, contracture, or keloid. The type of scar it will produce will depend on its severity, location, and how it was treated. 

Third degree burns

A third-degree burn or full-thickness burn is an injury that damages the epidermis and the entire layer of the dermis. It is the most severe type of burn that can also injure the tendons, fats, bones, and other body structures underneath. What’s worse is that it can also destroy the vasculature and nerve endings in the area. 

A third-degree burn can make the skin look waxy white, charred black, leathery, or tan. It can also have the features of a second-degree burn, such as blistering and moist skin. 

Most people who experience full-thickness burns do not experience pain and discomfort since the nerve endings are already damaged. However, they do need immediate medical attention as this is a severe type of injury that can lead to severe health complications. 

How to treat burns and scars from BBQ incidents?

Barbecue burns involve different kinds of treatment techniques depending on the type of burn, severity, and location. Mild burns can be treated using home remedies, while moderate to severe injuries warrant a visit to the emergency department or specialist.

First aid treatment

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, you can treat a minor first or second-degree burn using these first-aid home remedies. Here’s what you can do during such an injury:

  • Run the burned area under cold water or place a cold compress to reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Apply petroleum jelly to the affected part.
  • Cover the injured area loosely with a sterile bandage.
  • Cover the injured area when you go out to protect it from the sun. Exposure to such heat can cause redness and permanent scarring.

Make sure not to pop blisters or peel the fraying skin. Let the injured area heal on its own. If the blisters pop on their own, you can avoid infection by cleaning the area with soap and water. Then, cover the resulting wound with fresh bandages. 

Medical treatment for bbq burns

A third-degree burn, large first-degree burn, or severe second-degree burn should warrant an immediate visit to the hospital. Treatment can range from medical first aid, medications, therapy, surgery, and skin grafting. 

Moderate to severe burns usually leave permanent scarring in the skin as a result of the dying cells and collagen reparation. But once the initial medical treatment is done, you can seek the best plastic surgeon for bbq burns to help improve the appearance of your burn scar.

Burn scar treatment

Plastic surgery is often an important and necessary part of the treatment plan of patients who suffer from severe burns. Burn injuries that affect the face or a large body area can potentially leave scarring that can reduce joint mobility and cause itching and sometimes pain. 

Besides physical disability, scarring due to barbecue burns can also alter a person’s appearance. This results in lowered self-confidence, emotional scarring, and poor quality of life.  

A plastic surgeon, like Dr. Zaydon, can help reduce your symptoms and improve scar appearance using scar revision procedures, such as:

  • Keloid tissue removal
  • Skin flap surgery
  • Dermabrasion
  • Tissue expansion
  • Skin grafting

Scar revision procedures can also work on different types of burn injuries, such as scalding. For example, if you went to a drive-thru and the hot soup or coffee you ordered suddenly spilled. This will definitely lead to burn injuries that would result in scarring. 

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Consult with the best plastic surgeon for bbq burns and scars

Dr. Thomas Zaydon specializes in the treatment of burns and scars using scar revision and reconstructive surgical techniques. Dr. Zaydon can also help victims of burn accidents that result in permanent scarring, as he is also an expert in the medico-legal side of plastic surgery. Some of his services include the following:

Contact us now to learn more!


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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