A second-degree burn occurs when the first layer of skin, the epidermis, is burned all the way through, and some level of burning occurs in the underlying layer of skin, called the dermis.
The following four types of burns can result in second-degree burns:
- thermal burns, or burns caused by heat or flames
- contact burns, burns caused by a hot surface like an iron, light bulb or muffler tail pipe
- scald, a burn caused by hot water, grease or radiator fluid
- sunburn, resulting from over exposure to the sun
Second-degree burns range from superficial to deep, and consequently, treatment varies along the spectrum. A deep second-degree burn can cause permanent scars, much like a third degree burn.