Curling irons and hair straighteners are two of the most commonly used household appliances, but they can also be the cause of some painful and severe burns when accidentally turning them at the wrong angle and brushing them against the skin on your hands, neck or shoulders.

Read our article to learn how to treat any skin burns that may have been caused by a curling iron or hair straightener, and methods to prevent future occurrences.

Treatment for curling iron burns

A burn from a curling iron or straightener is a common occurrence and can happen very easily when focussing on anything else other than curling your hair for a brief moment. Even when fully focussed on the task, an accidental slip of the hand will do the same damage. It is best to be as careful as possible when handling scalding hot equipment such as a hair straightener or curling iron that could burn your neck, shoulders, hands and legs.

Step-by-step burn treatment routine

  1. Unplug your curling iron or hair straightener:

    The first step to take is to unplug your hair styling appliance as any surface it is left on while significantly hot can cause severe damage to your surroundings and most importantly, yourself and the people around you.
    Image of someone using a curling iron.
  2. Cool the burn wound down:

    Once the appliance is unplugged and in a safe place, cool the wound down using a wet towel dipped in cold water, or place it in a heat-resistance pouch. It is advised against using ice on your wounds as it is too cold for your skin and could result in your wound worsening or developing into an ice burn. Running water is not advised as the pressure can also make the wound worse.
    Unplugged curling irons.
  3. Dry the wound and apply Elastoplast Wound Spray:

    Apply the Elastoplast Wound Spray to ensure that the wound is cleaned from any dirt or bacteria that could potentially lead to infections and ensure the whole burned area is covered.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Spray
  4. Once the wound is cleaned apply Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment:

    Applying the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment will speed up the healing process of your wound and further reduce the risk of infection for optimal wound healing.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment 20g
  5. Protect your burn wound with an Elastoplast Waterproof Wound Dressing XXL:

    Make sure your burn wound is protected from outside dirt and bacteria with the Elastoplast Waterproof Wound Dressing XXL in order to prevent potential infection. This allows for your wound to heal, dry and recover without any interference.
    Elastoplast Aqua Protect Xl and XXL packshot.
  6. Look out for potential signs of infection:

    Keep a close eye on your wound for signs of infection as burns can be more open to infection and scarring. If the wound develops into a blister, you should leave intact.
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Types of Burn

There are three significant degrees of burns that also have various different symptoms. Please make sure to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you see symptoms of a third degree burn.

First-degree burn

They are superficial burns in which the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), is damaged. Your skin will likely turn red, but first degree burns typically do not develop into blisters.
Illustration of a first-degree burn.

Second-degree burn

This is a superficial skin burn that goes through the epidermis, also affecting the second layer of skin. These burns can be significantly more painful than a first degree burn and they can become heavily swollen and develop into blisters.
Illustration of a second-degree burn.

Third-degree burn

This type of burn affects the deeper layers of skin and typically burns through to the deeper tissue layers. These burns are thicker than second degree burns and can result in a charred or white look to your skin with a feeling of severe pain or numbness. 


For further information on different types of burns read more on how to treat burns, BBQ burns and ice burns.

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Frequently asked questions on curling iron burns

To avoid burns and infections from a curling iron or straightener there are some simple but effective prevention methods:

How long straightener/curling iron burns last?

Curling iron burns, as well as hair straightener burns, typically heal in a matter of days to weeks depending on whether an optimal wound healing routine was followed. For deeper third degree burns however, the burns should be checked by a medical healthcare professional.

Can I cover the curling iron or straightener burn with make-up?

It would be advised not to apply makeup over the wound while it is still in the process of healing as it will become susceptible to infection that may lead to permanent scarring. If you did want to apply makeup it would be best to only do so when the wound is no longer raw or completely healed.

Should I apply sunscreen to the straightener/curling iron burn?

Sunscreen is typically recommended for burn marks but it is also best to be applied all over the body. This is to help avoid instances of hyperpigmentation as well as protect the sensitive skin on the wound and around the rest of your body.
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Always see a doctor if the wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth.

Please note that, although these were compiled with great care, the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice regardless of what you have learned on this website.

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