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Ask Jimmy

I hope to use this web page to answer any of your general questions about burn treatment and prevention. If there is anything you ever wanted to know about burns, send me an email.

If you have been burned, see a doctor as soon as possible!

I’ve worked in burn care for over fourteen years. If I don’t know the answer to your question, I bet I know someone who does.

Think you know something about burns that I don’t know? Tell me about it!

Tell me a little bit about yourself when you send your message so I can give you an answer that is just right for you.

So, what do you want to know about? Butter? Aloe Vera? Pig skin? Spontaneous human combustion?

I’m looking forward to your questions and providing some insight into general burn care information.

Jimmy Parks

If the skin was not damaged, will singed hair grow back?



My name is Hope. I'm in Middlesex, NC I let the gas grill fill too long with gas, hit the ignite button and it burned hair around my face and parts of my eyebrows. The burnt hair has white ends on it. The hair around my face that is burned looks like an itty bitty mohawk in places. No skin whatsoever was burned yet I am still so upset and just wanting information as to what will happen to this hair.

Like: Will my eyebrow hair regrow and how long will it take?

Will those bitty pieces around my face fall out and never regrow? That's what I'm hoping, but I don't know. Is there a cycle the hair will go through? I don't mean to sound silly, I know it's just hair but I have waist length hair and then these burnt bitty sprigs around my face. I'm grateful yet upset. If you can anser these questions I would appreciate it information.

Thank you Hope.

Hello Hope,

If you are sure there was no damage to your skin, all you hair will grow back. Just have your stylist give you a little trim. They may even help you with the eyebrows.

If a stylist/barber has been around very long, they’ve seen this happen before and will be able to make you feel better about it—maybe without effecting the length of your hair too much.

The amount of time it will take for the hair to re-grow can vary so I’m not making any promises on exact times but, within a month you probably won’t even be able to tell that it happened.

If your stylist is good, they may be able to make it look like nothing ever happened today.

In the next day or two, if you notice that some of your skin is damaged or if you have any changes in the way you breathe, please see a physician. If only your hair is involved, you’ll be fine.

You’ll also be safer from now on too, right?! I have an electric grill, eat good food, and never worry about gas explosions.

Let me know how it turns out.

Good luck, Jimmy

Jimmy Parks MS, RN

What’s the difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns?


The degrees of burn describe how deep the burns are with 3rd degree being the deepest or worst. Remember, there are two main layers of skin and the degree of burn is decided by looking at how each layer of skin is affected.

First Degree Burns
  • The top layer of skin is damaged but not destroyed.
  • The top layer of skin turns bright pink or very red.
  • The pain can vary from mild to extreme.
  • No skin comes off and there are no blisters.
  • Some very thin skin may flake or peel off a few days later.
  • Mild sunburns are a good example but 1st degree burns may be caused by other things as well.

Second Degree Burns
  • The top layer of skin is destroyed.
  • The top layer of skin may slide off or get fluid under it forming a blister usually within the first 24 hours, sometimes within minutes.
  • The second layer of skin is damaged but not destroyed.
  • When the top layer of skin comes off, the second layer is exposed.
  • The second layer of skin appears red or pink and moist.
  • These are the most painful kind of burn and one of the most painful types of injuries, period.
  • If you have seen a blister, you have seen a second degree burn.

Third Degree Burns
  • The top layer of skin is destroyed.
  • The top layer of skin may slide off or fall off easily.
  • The second layer of skin is destroyed as well but does not come off.
  • When the top layer of skin comes off, the second layer is exposed.
  • The second layer appears white, gray, yellow, brown or black and is usually dry.
  • These burns are usually not as painful.

Those are the basics. If you want to know more details, email me your questions.

What is the first thing we should do if someone is burned?


The first thing we want to do is stop the burning by putting the burned area under cool running water for just a couple of minutes. Don’t over do it! It is important that we don’t let the burned area or the person get cold.

Next, cover the burned area with a clean dry towel or sheet. Seek medical attention if the burn is big or deep or if there has been a fire.

That’s all there is to it! Let’s not make it complicated but, if you really want the details, click here.

What can we do to make them heal faster or better?


First Degree Burns

These burns should heal naturally within a few days or at least a week. The top layer of skin slowly replaces itself and the damaged skin flakes off or peels off a few days after the burn.

It helps to keep the skin from drying out. Apply a mild moisturizer a few times a day. Just don’t apply the moisturizer immediately after the burn.

Second Degree Burns

These burns should heal within 1-3 weeks naturally. However, the outcome can vary a lot and treatment can make a big difference. A new top layer of skin will grow back out of the second layer of skin IF the conditions are right. That’s why burns that are very big or are on an important part of the body should really be treated by burn specialists.

In the best case, second degree burns heal quickly, don’t leave scars and don’t require surgery.

In worse cases, second degree burns heal slowly, leave obvious scars and may even require skin grafting.

So what makes the difference?

Second degree burns do better if:

  • They are not very deep burns.
  • They are not very big burns.
  • They are cooled with running water immediately for a couple of minutes.
  • They do not have ice put on them.
  • They do not have butter or other food put on them.
  • They receive medical treatment very quickly.
  • They receive wound care in a Burn Center.
  • The patient is in good health otherwise.
  • The patient is not less than two years old or over 50 years old.
  • The patient does not smoke.

For small burns that you want to treat at home, (I don’t want to give you specific medical advice here) but it is important that the wound be kept clean.

Third Degree Burns

These burns will not heal without a skin graft if they are very big at all. A new top layer of skin cannot grow back out of the second layer like second degree burns. If they are very small, third degree burns may heal from the edges but even a third degree burn the size of a penny, can take several weeks to heal. That is why it is important that all third degree burns be seen by a doctor.

A skin graft is surgery where the skin lost to a third degree burn is replaced by a very thin layer of the patient’s own skin taken from an unburned part of their body.

Things that make a difference to second degree burns can make a difference for third degree burns too.

When do I need to see a doctor?


It’s hard to think of every case that a doctor might be needed. I would say that if you have any doubt it would be better to seek medical help. Here are some examples where you would definitely want to get medical attention quickly:

  • Any third degree burns.
  • Any burns where the patient may have breathed in smoke.
  • Any second degree burn bigger than the palm of the patient’s hand.
  • Any second degree burn on the face, hands, feet, or genitals where scars would be more obvious or serious.
  • Any burns that go all the way around a finger, toe, arm, leg or neck.
  • Any chemical or electrical burns.
  • If the patient has a fever or extreme pain.
  • If the patient has some other health problem, especially diabetes or immune system problems.
  • Remember that burns are more serious for people under two years old or over 50 years old.

What can I do to prevent someone in my home from being burned?


Again, it’s hard to think of every possible burn hazard but I’ll list a few of the most important steps you can take to prevent burns around the house:

  • Keep little children out of the kitchen. The most likely way a child under five will get a bad burn is from hot food or liquid in the kitchen.
  • Turn pot handles away from the edge of the stove. Use the back burners when you can. Watch out for electrical cords connected to hot items. Don’t use a table cloth if you have little children around. These can prevent common burns to children and adults alike.
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Children can be scalded by water straight from the faucet in less than one second if the water is set too high. This is a very common cause of burns to children under five years old.
  • If you have children in the house, lighters and matches should be locked (not just hidden) away. A rule in the house should be that children are not to touch lighters or matches.
  • Always wear sun block (30 SPF or better) when outside in the summer. This can prevent the pain and possible scarring from sunburns but also reduce your and your child’s risk for skin cancer.
  • Don’t use gasoline for anything except putting in the gas tank. Even then, use extreme caution. Misuse of gasoline is one of the most common causes of severe burns to people over ten years old.
  • Don’t smoke. If you have a cigarette in your hand, you’ve got fire in your hand. It’s the most common cause of deadly home fires and a common cause of burn injuries.

Those are just a few tips off the top of my head. For more prevention suggestions, email me.




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