Second-degree burn: Deep partial-thickness burn

Second-degree burn on arm, with cross-section of skin showing redness and swelling in top two skin layers.

Second-degree burns are injuries to the skin caused by heat, radiation, electricity, chemicals, or friction. A deep second-degree burn injures the top layer of skin (epidermis) and the tissue below the skin (dermis). This type of burn is also called a deep partial-thickness burn.

After an injury, this type of burn usually causes blisters and may be painful with pressure. With this burn, the skin looks spotted, stays white when pressed, may look waxy in some areas, and is dry or slightly moist. The risk of infection is an important concern with these burns.

Current as of: November 15, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine