Skin is one of the most important and sensitive parts of the human body. You must be quite selective and careful in terms of anything which may have the potential to cause damage to your skin. Skin burns are the most dreadful event that can happen to anyone as it considered to be one of the most painful things. Let us understand this subject from the root.
What Is Skin?
Skin is a very important part of the human body which forms the outermost protective covering of humans. Skin is the largest organ of the human body covering an area of about 20sq. feet and has a weight of 4-5kg. Human skin is the same as some other mammals and is very similar to that of the pig. A healthy, moist and fresh looking skin is the indication of good health.
Skin is not simply a protective wrap for the body. It is a body frontier which mediates between the organism and the environment. The skin not only controls the loss of valuable fluid but also prevents penetration of noxious foreign materials and radiation and cushions against mechanical shock. It also regulates heat loss and transduces incoming stimuli.
Structure Of Skin
The skin is composed of Three layers namely Epidermis, Dermis, Hypodermis (Subcutaneous tissue).
- EPIDERMIS – It is the outermost and most superficial layer of the skin. It is basically derived from the embryonic ectoderm. It is composed of keratinized stratified squamous epithelium which varies in thickness in the different parts of the body.
- DERMIS – The dermis is a tough and resilient tissue which cushions the body against mechanical injury and provides nutrients to the epidermis and cutaneous appendages. It consists of an association of proteins fibers with an amorphous ground substance containing mucopolysaccharide. The dermis also houses blood, lymphatic and nervous systems, and surrounds the invaginated epidermal appendages.
- HYPODERMIS – Beneath the dermis, there is subcutaneous tissue containing many adipose cells in and between the connective tissue, veins, nerves, and arteries. The boundary of the dermis is not very clear. The main role of the subcutaneous fat is to regulate temperature. Subcutaneous fat is generally better developed in women than in men and in children than in adults. The subcutaneous tissue prevents the change in body temperature by maintaining balance in exterior and interior temperatures.
Types Of Skin
- Hairy skin
- Glabrous skin
Hairy skin- It has hair follicles associated with their associated sebaceous glands. However, the number of hair follicles varies greatly.
Glabrous skin- It is characterized by its thick epidermis and by the presence of encapsulated sense organs within the dermis.
Burns are not uncommon injuries and vary from minor and insignificant injuries to severe forms. A burn injury is defined as “tissue injury due to the application of heat in any form to the external or internal body surface”
Burns are classified into three degrees.
1. First Degree – In this the epidermis burns, there is reddening of skin and erythema. Blisters may form and the lesion may be painful. Generally, it heals without scar formation.
2. Second Degree- It is characterized by blisters formation or charring and destruction of the full thickness of the skin. The burns are painful and healed leaving permanent scars. It is the most common burn injury involving epidermis and dermis.
3. Third Degree- The burns are less painful due to nerve destructions. There are charring and destruction of tissues beneath the skin like fat, subcutaneous tissue, muscle or bone. The burns heal by deep scar formation, contracture, disfigurement and leads to impairment or loss of function of the affected part.
Burns generally come from some types of an external source. Thus you must be quiet careful while handling any work prone to burns or any accidents. Let just take a look at those external sources causing a different type of burns
- Heat or thermal burn – This is the most common type of burn that you will see in patients. They come from various sources like hot liquid spilling on the skin or from hot steam or fire, etc.
- Electrical burn – Just like the name suggests it’s from some time of electrical force. The thing with the burn from electrical current is that it does not only affects the skin but it can affect the structures under the skin i.e., muscles and bones. Though here the skin looks burn but there could be even more damage underneath that skin layer from where the electrical current traveled. This is known as the Iceberg effect. Electrical burns may affect heart muscles, bone fractures, spine injuries, the release of myoglobin and hemoglobin in the blood which then clogs up and traveling to the kidney can cause a condition called Acute Tubular Necrosis.
- Chemical Burn – This burn is caused when some type of toxic substance comes in contact with the skin like powders, gases, certain foods. The sources of chemical burn are either Acidic or Alkaline, of which the acidic burns are easier to treat because in the case of alkaline burns the skin will have issue neutralizing it. On the other hand, acidic burns are easier to neutralize.
- Cold Burn – These burns are caused when the skin is overexposed to cold leading to frostbite.
- Radiation Burn – These burns are usually caused due to heat from the sun as sunburns during the summer season.
- Friction Burn- This is the abrasion to the skin which generally seen in patients who met with accidents, road rash, etc.
Factors That determine Burn Severity?
Determining how severe the burn is can ascertain mini complications the patient is going to experience and what treatment the patient should receive. Burn severity depends on
- The depth of burn.
- Percentage of total surface body area of the patient burned.
- Age of patient.
- Medical history of the patient.
- Location of burn.
- Is there an Inhalation Injury.
NOTE -WHAT IS INHALATION INJURY? It is the damage to the respiratory system due to the inhalation of substance like carbon monoxide, different hot gases chemicals. The symptoms of inhalation injury may include bright red lips, facing difficulties in talking, burns on nose or mouth, haziness and hair singeing.
Medical Treatment For Burns
Usually burn treatment depends upon the degree of burn although medical treatment may include prescribed medications, bandages and other things which contribute to healing after the sufferer has received first-aid for a major burn.
First Degree burn does not scar, but second and third-degree burns leave behind scars which might affect the appearance of the concerned body part. Generally, burns can cause three types of scars Hypertrophic scars, contracture scars, keloid scars.
first-degree burns are those without blisters and deep damage of the skin. Here it is necessary to keep the skin dry and intact and hence doctors recommend lotions. This lotion soothes the burn. Usually, the first-degree burn can be treated with home care i.e., using products like aloe vera, soothing creams/lotions, dry loose gauze bandage, Tylenol, acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.
NOTE-Never apply dry cotton or any cloth on the burn areas as the small fabrics of the cotton or cloth may get entangled with the skin enhancing the chances of skin infection and end up creating unnecessary problems.
Second-degree burns are those with blisters and are extremely red and sore in appearance. These burns are quite delicate in nature and may take more than 2-3 weeks to heal which depending upon the severity of blisters. Second-degree burns covering less than 10% area of the total skin can be treated in an outpatient setting. Treatment of severe/deep second-degree burn includes dressing of the wound and changing the dressing depends upon the severity of the burn, antibiotics, ointments, cleaning the wound. Cleaning of the wound and changing of dressing is quite painful and thus a pain reliever can be given. While changing the dressing care must be taken that the blisters formed should not burst.
Third-degree burns are those with yellow, white or brown skin and the skin is dry and leathery in appearance. In these burns, the epidermis and the layer beneath the dermis containing the nerves are destroyed and because of this, there is no pain felt. The third-degree burns require special medical treatment and attention. As the epidermis and hair follicles are destroyed therefore new skin is not formed. Treatment of these burns includes removal of dead skin and tissues, antibiotics, ointment, use of intravenous fluid to make up for the fluid lost from the skin when burnt.
NOTE- Is Icing of burnt wound harmful? Though icing on burn gives initial relief. But it is found that icing of burnt wound slows down the healing process. Thus it is advised to hold the wound under running water rather than icing it.
New And More Effective Treatment For Burns
The new era in wound care has already started with the introduction of the following consummate techniques
- Spincare Spray.
- Tilapia skin burns bandage.
It is a revolutionalized portable hand health system that creates a transient skin layer on any wound ( burns, surgical wound, chronical wound) with a single-use disposable syringe containing polymer solution. Spincare consists of a spray gun that emits nanomaterial on the wound which resembles human tissues and shrugs of automatically when the skin is regenerated. This transparent skin is applied by the spray gun that is without any contact with the charred skin which diminishes the chances of infections.
The transparent dressing from the spincare can withstand water for 24hours after it is applied and it peels off automatically when the skin is healed. The transparency of skin also allows the doctors to monitor the wounds. Once the skin sprayed on the damaged skin stays for 2-3weeks long till then no dressing is required. Traditionally, treatment for the second degree and third-degree burns involve grafting or dressing of the burnt wound which is quite a traumatic and painful experience for the patients and thus spincare technique proves to be superior as it eliminates the pain.
According to the Nanomedics CEO Chen Barak, this patent-protected technology uses the electrospinning process that creates a nanofibres mat which then meshes tightly to mimic the human tissue. This nanofibrous carpet is formed when a strong electric force is applied to the polymer solutions. This polymer solution can be either natural or synthetic which is a platform for additives such as antibiotics, cannabis, collagen, silicon, antibacterials, hydrogels.
A 30-year-old electrician Avi Rottenberg is the first on whom spray-on ‘skin’ was tried. He received severe burns from hot cooking oil on October 2018, Rottenberg was no longer able to bear the pain during the routine changing of dressing twice a day. After few days spincare was applied on his wound and according to him, ” he is very satisfied as this really spared him of a lot of pain and ended his daily suffering of opening the dressing every morning and every evening, for monitoring the wounds”
This device has been FDA approved and used on over 100 patients in Isreal as well as in Europe to gather clinical data. It is expected to be commercially available in mid-2019. The company is looking to gain more and more confidence in it and once they are sure with it than the sky is the limit for them.
- No contact with the wound, sterile procedure reducing the risk of infection.
- Excellent adherence to all body surfaces.
- Transparent skin layer to allow real-time healing assessment.
- Peels off spontaneously/automatically when the skin is regenerated.
- Redressing of the wounds is not required throughout the healing process.
- It eliminates the pain of dressing change, especially in children.
Skin Grafting VS Spincare
Skin grafting is a type of skin transplantation surgery which is used to treat extensive wounds, burns, etc. It involves cutting of healthy skin and lay it over the wounds. Surgically removal of damaged skin is followed by transplantation of healthy skin. Skin grafting results in even more skin to heal and it is quite painful as well. Most of the times patients end up having scars on the burnt areas as well as on the area from where the skin is taken.
On the other hand, Spincare is a simple technique based on electrospinning process, it involves shooting polymer threads which mimic human tissues. The skin mat is transparent thus allowing doctors to monitor the real-time healing. The skin peels off automatically when the damaged skin is regenerated. Thus no scars and eliminates the pain as there is no need for changing the dressing proves the superiority of spincare over skin grafting.
Tilapia Skin Burn Bandage
Talapia is mainly a freshwater fish species colonizing in shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. Talapia fish is the fourth most consumed species in the United States owing to its high protein content, low price and good taste. You will be amazed to know that tilapia fish consume floating aquatic plants and hence many countries use this species to control plant growth of choice. The Tilapia fish also helps in reducing the population of mosquitoes carrying malaria parasites as the later feed on the mosquitoes. Thus Tilapia fishes in a certain way prove to be a protective cushion for humans.
Apart from the various uses of tilapia species contributing to the welfare of various living creatures. Let us discuss the most important use of it which has been just put into service recently.
As discussed from the start of this article that skin is the most important part of the body serving various functions and is the most sensitive too. It is no new to you to know that it is skin that is responsive, susceptible and vulnerable to an’ unfortunate incident.
One of these mishaps is skin burns. The various types and the causes of skin burns are discussed earlier. Skin burns of second-degree and third-degree burns are considered as one of the most painful things a living soul can experience.
What if a fish skin is used to bandage those burns?…
A new technique is being used in different countries to treat skin burns. This technique involves bandaging the burns with sterilized Tilapia fish skin. This technique beyond various advantages eliminates the pain of changing the dressing of burnt wounds daily.
You must be quite doubtful knowing this and with several questions running across your veins. Let me put an end to your questions.
Talapia skin is the first aquatic animal skin to be used in patients for healing burns. The Talapia skin contains collagen fibers and proteins similar to that of human skin which helps the immune system to speed the healing. The talapia skin remains intact to the wounds and adheres the skin. It prevents the loss of proteins and moisture from the wounds. There is no need for redressing the fish skin. The skin stays bound to the wound until it heals over.
Fish farms normally throw away plentiful of Tilapia skins. But it cannot be used directly. The skin needs to be sterile, odorless medical dressing which takes several steps. These steps involve
- The fish skin is washed thoroughly with water.
- Then the skin is sterilized thoroughly in chlorohexidine, which is an antiseptic.
- Followed by sterilization in glycerol of various concentrations.
- Afterward, it is sent for complementary radiosterilization.
This ensures the skin is sterilized against the viruses. The researchers have approved the technique saying that the skins are cost-effective and environmentally beneficial. Many of them are hoping to see this technique enters in the health system around the globe after more testing.
Most effective Home Remedies To Treat Skin Burn
In some cases when the burns are superficial the following home remedies are most effective. But visiting a doctor if the burns are threatening is advice.
1. Cold Water
Many of you must have heard about this remedy as it mostly used and recommended because of its soothing effect. Running cold water on burnt skin is prevents the burn from spreading. Never ice your burnt wound because it hinders the growth of new developing tissue.
2. Raw Potato
Rubbing slices of potato on your burnt skin help in relieving pain because of its anti-irritating and soothing properties. Make sure that the juice of potato is released on the wound.
3. Aloe Vera
Cut a leaf of aloe vera and apply the fresh gel directly on the burn. The astringent and tissue healing properties help in healing the burns. You can also mix a small quantity of turmeric powder in aloe vera gel and then apply the mixture on the burns.
4. Coconut oil and Lemon juice
Coconut oil and lemon juice together can help in healing burns when the wounds are dried and cooled. Take coconut oil and add a small quantity of lemon juice to it. MIxing it properly and apply it on the affected area.
In addition to the sweet yummy taste and other medicinal properties, honey can effectively help in healing burns thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey also minimize the chances of developing scars.
Hoping this article must have been useful to you. Please let me know your feedback in the comment section.