by ZOE FOSTER
I burned myself on my curling tong again last week. And I’ve had a gutful, to be honest. I burn myself on my styler or tongs at least every few months, usually on the forehead or neck, and when I tell other women this, they generally nod gravely and admit to similar war stories and point to faint scars as evidence.
(I heard a terrible one last week; she picked up her GHD in the middle, by the plates, thinking it was off. It was not off. Oh! And another woman stepped on her curling tong and didn’t realise it was burning her for around 15 seconds. She couldn’t walk for weeks.)
I burn myself because I’m usually in a rush, and not being mindful that the tool in my hand is a scorching, skin-sizzling 220 degrees, and am doing odd angles with my arms and hair, and all of it backwards into a mirror. (It’s not that surprising, really.)
But last week I burned my arm quite badly, and I don’t quite know how I managed that location and intensity and size, and as I sit here looking at it and being cranky with myself for not being more careful, and wondering just how much of it will scar, and what will I have for lunch, I wondered how many of YOU have done the same thing, and how did you remedy it?
Of course, when it happened, I forgot what to do as usual, (Water? Ice? The beak of a golden owl?) and after realising the place I’d burned myself was not an area easily accessible to running cold water, I splashed cold water on it for a few minutes then swore a bit, (I was running late, as usual) then went to the freezer and placed an ice pack pillow thingy on it, swearing a bit more, because I needed to finish my hair and makeup and be out the door and all this icing and searing pain was incredibly inconvenient.
Those who know stuff about burns will instantly know I messed that bit up. Because you don’t put ice on a fresh burn. Nor do you put butter or oil on it, in case you thought that was still happening. You just do cold water. For as long as you can. Twenty minutes ideally.
Here’s other things you do to treat a hair tool “vanity burn”, so that next time you do it, if ever, you don’t screw up or waste precious time Googling madly like I did, and hopefully, avoid a nasty scar, too.
Disclaimer: This is for first-degree burns only. If the skin blisters and is very sore, red and swollen, go to the doctor, as you might have a second-degree burn.
- Use cold running or submerged (or splashing if that’s not possible) water on the burn for 10-20 minutes
- Take some aspirin or Nurofen
- DON’T USE ICE – it can damage the skin and cause frostbite. Only an IDIOT would use ice. (“Me.”)
- DO NOT USE ANYTHING OIL-BASED!
- Next, either:
Use an antibacterial cream. I discovered MediHoney Antibacterial Wound Gel at Priceline – it’s very soothing and honey is a terrific healer. (Supermarket honey won’t do the trick; it’s the Manuka honey in this stuff you want)
Apply pure aloe vera gel to the burn to cool it down. Be sure it’s not just a shitty version of after sun lotion with 10% aloe: go as strong and pure aloe as you can. I keep some in the fridge for burns now. That’s a bit sad. Calendula is also very soothing
- Loosely wrap a dry gauze or non-stick bandage around the burn
- If blisters appear in the next couple of days, do not pop them! Use an antibacterial cream or gel on them to keep them clean
- Do not itch or pick at the wound. Very silly in terms of scarring
- Keep applying aloe vera/Medihoney for a few days.
- After 5-6 days, once it has adequately healed, (the ‘scab’ has fallen off) start on the scar prevention with pure Vitamin E oil (break capsules in half and use those) intermixed with Mederma ointment twice a day.
Despite my best attempts to be accurate and give you the right information on treating these stupid G-damn burns (and my white dress and stethoscope) I am obviously no nurse, just a klutz with one too many burns on to her name/skin who doesn’t want you to scar yourself. Obviously I/we would love to read your cures and products and treatments and suggestions below.
And hey, let’s all (“me”) try to be a bit more careful when we’re handling very hot styling tools, yeah? Otherwise we’ll be forced to take sooky photos of our accidents like this.
Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.
Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Have you ever sustained a beauty injury?