Third-degree burns, also called full-thickness burns, injure all
the layers of the skin as well as the fatty tissue beneath them. These are
serious burns that can affect the skin's ability to grow back.
A third-degree burn can cause severe pain. But if nerve
endings are damaged, the burn may not hurt right away. Third-degree burns may
look white, cherry red, or black, and they do not change color when you press
on them (they do not blanch). Although blisters may develop, the burn is mostly
dry, hard, and leathery-looking.
Common causes of third-degree burns are steam, hot oil, grease,
chemicals, electrical currents, and hot liquids.
Infection is a major concern with third-degree burns. These burns
always require care from a doctor. With small burns, new skin sometimes grows
in from unburned areas. Large burns may require skin grafts and surgery.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine