Many curling irons on the market reach extreme temperatures, and accidental contact with areas besides the hair can cause burns. Injuries commonly occur when a person using a hot iron touches an eye or exposed skin. Some burns should not be treated at home, so it's important to recognize the signs of serious burns that require medical attention.
Burns to the Skin
Curling iron-related burns to the skin usually affect just the top layer of the skin, causing redness and inflammation. These minor injuries can be treated at home with cool water applied immediately to the area. Lotions containing aloe vera may help reduce pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may be used to decrease pain. Ice, alcohol and iodine can cause further injury, so they should not be applied to burned skin. Using sunscreen until the burn is healed will help prevent further damage when out in the sun.
With more severe burns, the damage goes deeper, causing blistering and extensive skin injury. These injuries require prompt medical attention to ensure proper healing and help prevent infection.
Burns to the Eye
Burns to the eye require immediate medical attention. Do not try to treat them at home. Extreme heat from a curling iron can cause damage to the cornea, the clear outer layer at the front of the eye. This can cause pain and decreased vision. Doctors will typically care for these burns using treatments that involve rinsing out the eye, pain medications, eye patching and antibiotic ointments.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Burns to the eye and severe injuries to the skin are very serious. Seek medical attention immediately to avoid complications such as vision problems or infection.
- Electronic Forensics: Curling Iron Fires
- American Family Physicians: Outpatient Burns: Prevention and Care
- Merck Manual Professional Edition: Burns
- UW Health: Sun Protection for Burn Patients
- Academic Emergency Medicine: Curling Iron-Related Injuries Presenting to US Emergency Departments
- Acta Ophthalmologica: Emergency Treatment of Chemical and Thermal Eye Burns