Herbal Care How-To For A Second-Degree Burn

While being a registered nurse and herbalist prepares you to handle emergency situations effectively and efficiently as naturally as possible, when it’s you’re own child in the situation, it feels completely different! Today, I’d like to share how I approached my toddler’s second-degree burn with herbs from start to finish in hopes that this helps other parents out there if needed.

How it all began…

It was an average evening. My two older kids were playing in their room, building some Lego masterpiece, I was working on the computer, and my husband had just built a “hot” as my 2-year-old likes to call our woodstove fires. Dad was in the kitchen fixing the dog some food and my little guy was running through the house showing how fast he was.

An hour or so later as we were all getting ready to eat dinner, my little man decided to get a bit closer to the “hot” than he normally does, and he burned his wrist by touching the top of the stove.

Now let me add in here that we’ve gone through many, many training exercises of not touching the stove and about what hot is and feels like. I suppose there’s nothing like a first-hand experience, and at his age, whatever he was doing or trying to put on top of the stove was just too tempting to obey mama and daddy. Now that he’s been burned, he’s very cautious around that stove though.

Herbal Care for a Second-Degree Burn

Day 1

So, as soon as he burned himself, we heard him immediately start crying and went to check out his boo-boo. He had a 1 inch by 1/2 inch burn right across the underside of his wrist where he’d touched the edge of the stove. It didn’t look bad… more like a white patch, but I immediately went into a natural nurse mama action mode.

Step 1: Cool the burn. He did not want his hand stuck under cool running water so we kept switching out cool rags to put on his wrist until he calmed down a bit, and I felt like the majority of the heat was gone.

Step 2: I immediately applied some lavender essential oil diluted in sweet almond oil to the burn area. Lavender essential oil is my go-to oil for burns. It’s great!

Both of these things seemed to help him, so we went about our evening as we normally do.

Day 2

The next morning, we’d all forgotten about it, but in the middle of the day he randomly started crying and holding his hand out to me saying “ow”. I looked at his burn to see what the problem was. Overnight, it must have turned into a blister, and he had rubbed his wrist up against something, scraping the blister, popping it, and exposing that raw area. It looked nasty, and I actually saw how bad of a burn it really was — a second-degree burn. I knew I needed to do something to help it repair itself and to prevent infection or scarring, so I started thinking.

natural supplies for burns

Step 1: I gathered my supplies to make a bandage over the burn so he’d leave it alone and let it heal. I grabbed some non-stick gauze squares, fun band-aids, my homemade burn cream, lavender essential oil, and then got to work.

Step 2: I cut each gauze square in half so that I had a small rectangle that would fit perfectly over the burn area. I applied a bit of homemade burn cream to the gauze, 1 drop of lavender essential oil, and placed it on top of the second-degree burn. I then covered it with the two bandaids to secure it in place.

bandaged burn

My little guy didn’t like it at first. Most little ones don’t like bandages put over them, but the fun band-aids helped as did covering it up with his sleeve and distracting him with something else. Out of sight, out of mind, eh?

I left this bandage on all day and took it off at bedtime so it could get some air.

*Update: After further research, for minor wounds, I follow the dry wound healing protocol, and for more severe wounds, I follow the moist wound healing protocol. If I had it to do again, I would leave this wound covered and moist.

Day 3 – Day 5

For the next three days, I repeated this process every day. Ointment on during the day while he played and open to air at night while he slept.

The second-degree burn was pretty nasty looking at first, but the ointment was definitely helping it to repair itself and discourage infection.

Day 6 – Day 9

day 6-9 burn progress

Since the burn was definitely healing, and I didn’t want to keep bandaging it every day, I decided to alternate days of ointment and days of air. That means that on day six it was open to the air, day seven it was bandaged with ointment, so on and so forth. At this point, I was mainly using the ointment and lavender essential oil to assist with minimizing scarring.

Day 10 – Day 14

During this period, the second-degree burn was entirely healed. New skin had filled it in, but it was still red in that area, so during this time I only used the lavender essential oil diluted in the sweet almond oil. I rubbed this on it every morning when he woke up and every evening when he went to bed.

day 10-14 burn progress

And that was it. The second-degree burn was healed, there were no signs of scarring, and my little man was happy and healthy — and staying a good distance from our stove.

I’m sharing this so that if you ever experience a small second-degree burn, you’ll have an idea of how to approach it in a natural way. But, here’s the thing. You need to be prepared. If I hadn’t already made and had my burn cream on hand, I honestly don’t think this would have turned out as it did. I needed the benefits from the herbs in the cream, so I’m glad I was prepared and had that in our natural medicine cabinet.

Be sure to check out my post “How To Make An Herbal Burn Cream” and get all your supplies, linked to above, so that you too can be prepared if you or someone you know ever needs this!

Have you ever dealt with a second degree burn naturally? If so, what did you do? Share with me in the comments below!
  1. Jenny says:

    Burn, no but a severe gouge/cut, yes. The way I treated my injury would b identical for a burn. I used my homemade baby butt salve that we use on everything and lavender and tea tree oil. I scarred but if u could have seen the cut u would b astonished at how it looks. I don’t think a doc could have done better. I was just glad I didn’t slit my wrist open. I tripped and fell against a square stepping stone and ran the corner into the underside of my wrist also taking quite a bit of flesh off the palm of my hand. Awesome post. Everytime I hurt myself or read someone elses story gives a little more confidence for the next time, which if u knew me u would understand that there will b a next time and it’ll b a dozy.

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks for sharing Jenny! I’m so glad all worked out well for you, and I hope your “next time” isn’t so bad!

  2. Milissa says:

    Thank you so much. I first little burned his hand years ago. I wish I would have known this remedy. Hopefully my newest little will not get burnt, but if he does I will be prepared!

  3. Jill York says:

    I’m planning a similar post as this one soon! One of my daughters spilled boiling hot soup on her leg. 🙁 You did an amazing job on his burn, mama!

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks Jill! Can’t wait to read and share your post!

    • Ani says:

      Hi. Today my daughter spilled boiled water on her leg. Second degree burn. Could you please tell me if your daughter got scar after the burning? And after 5 years how it looks like now? I would appreciate if you respond me. Thank you

  4. Pati says:

    adding Vit E oil to the sore will stop it from scarring as it is healing. Maybe adding to the cream would be a thought also

    • Meagan says:

      That is a great ideal Pati! Thanks for sharing. I’ll add that into the post… thank you!

  5. mayra says:

    So is it ok to pop the blister?
    My daughter just slightly touched the grill yesterday and today I noticed she has a blister.

    • Meagan says:

      Don’t pop the blister! It’s the bodies way of protecting the burn. There are good things in that liquid to help heal the burn. Plus, popping it can open the body up to infection. Just leave it and put your cream or salves over it.

  6. Anni says:

    Three or four years ago, I was baking my daughter’s birthday cake while fighting a migraine. (Dangerous combination!) Long story shortened greatly. I received a large, very deep second degree burn on my right hand, on the back of my palm, on my thumb. Because I was drugged and frankly stoned from the migraine meds, it didn’t register with me immediately that my thumb was being burned. It took me a few seconds to react and pull my hand away. My husband immediately dragged me to the sink for cold water. I was stunned and not terribly verbal, so all I could say was, “lavender” to my husband. He simply grabbed the lavender bottle and poured straight lavender oil on the burn. (He didn’t know to dilute.) I was all astonishment! The pain immediately went from an 8/10 to a very tolerable 2/10. A beloved friend had just made some “owie ointment” and had given me some to try. It contained olive oil infused with comfrey and calendula, along with lavender and tea tree essential oils. I applied that daily for four weeks; it took that long to heal. But today, I don’t have a scar at all. The skin is ever-so-slightly darker there, and I have to be careful about sun exposure, but other than that, it’s perfect! Natural cures for the win!!

    • Meagan says:

      That sounds like the story of the French scientist that discovered how lavender EO helped with burns. Supposedly he dunked his burned hand into a large amount of lavender EO and had the same results you had! Plus, lavender is one of the very few EOs you can actually use “neat”. I prefer to dilute everything anyway, but at least it’s an option if you need it. Thanks for sharing your story! I love the “owie ointment” too! Comfrey and calendula are amazing herbs. I love using them in my boo-boo salves too!

  7. teila says:

    Being accident prone in the kitchen as well as a connoisseur of bacon i cannot tell you how many times i have burnt myself- severely. Yes step one is to run under gentle tepid water. Tepid is best to keep from causing further trauma to the affected tissue. This is very important as shocking the skin further can not only cause pain but also slow the healing process. Immediately after apply honey to the area. For young children wrap it. Reapply honey and clean bandages in an hour or so. I highly recommend manuka honey- it is now being used in burn wards due to its effectiveness. If you cannot find manuka honey online or in a local health food store regular honey will still work. Reapply honey every couple of hours until bed and wrap. Nexr morning make a strong calendula tea and let cool, again to room temp. Soak gauze or rag in the tea and apply to the burn until it becomes body temp. Do this a couple times before reapplying honey and bandage. In many cases you will not have a blister agter the quick application of honey. The calendula is a highly regarded skin healer. Using only these two things i have had less severe burns disappear within merw hours and second degree burns disappear within a day or two with no scarring.

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks so much Tella! I love honey and calendula. I’m constantly amazed at how well herbs work in first aid situations like burns! Thanks for your comment!

  8. Rachel Parks says:

    My two year old son just burned his hand last night. I’m so glad I read this!! Thank you!!

  9. Jessica says:

    do you recommend covering the burn or leaving it open to air.my daughter recently got burned from the slide.and I panicked it’s been almost a week.she popped the blisters due to jumping on the bed and landing on her bottom.any tips.I have been using ointment and some aloe vera.I hear honey is good to use..any advice would be helpful thanks you

    • Meagan says:

      I think experts nicely disagree on this. Personally, it depends on the burn and how large it is. Infection is always a risk so I like to keep them covered, especially when they’re new. I mean, that’s why the skin blisters in the first place, right? To make its own band-aid. Anyway, I like to keep it covered and use a salve, burn cream, honey, whatever you want on it to help it heal and prevent infection. Once it’s doing well and new skin is regrowing, it can be good to let it get some air. Hope that helps, Jessica! Best of luck, and I hope your sweet girl feels better soon!

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Cynthia says:

    Dermelastic serum helped to heal my scar from a recent burn on the stove. Since I already bought it, I also used it on a very old scar, that I’ve had since I was a child. It still made a difference which is crazy! It lightened the old scar slightly in color and softened the skin in that area. I will continue using it, although I don’t expect it to entirely disappear.

  12. Natasha singh says:

    Hi Meagan, my son whose 20 months suffered second degree burn on his chest as he pulled down the hot coffee onto himself ..it’s was treated immediately and now 10’days at up. I worry for the scars and complete healing. Shall I apply sweet almond oil as u have suggested or shall I apply silicone gel to reduce scaring.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Hi, Natasha. I don’t know anything about silicone gels, but lavender essential oil and zinc oxide are known to be beneficial for burns due to their antibacterial and vulnerary properties. If the burn is mostly healed and you want to minimize scarring as it continues to heal, you could do a Google search for essential oils that work in that way. You could then use those EOs mixed with your sweet almond oil over the area moving forward. Hope that helps some.

  13. luann Morris says:

    comfrey leaf is also a wonderful thing just a leaf over a cut outside will heal !

  14. Ashley Telling says:

    I just got a huge burn my hole elbow I just ordered lavender oil hopefully it helps. I’m a waitress I make $3,000 a month but work my ass off I was half awake making breakfast and caught my arm on the oven door for just one second it’s huge. Hope this helps. My friend is an md she said I need a tetnus shot as well but no insurance til the first.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Oh no, Ashley! I hope you find some relief soon, and I hope your elbow heals quickly. Lavender essential oil has been traditionally used on burns for a long while. Here’s hoping you have great results with it!

  15. Rakale says:

    My 9 month old accidentally put her hand in boiled water. I immediately held her hand under tap but as she was in pain she did not let me hold her hand for long. Soon blisters started developing and I took her to doctor. The doctor gave her painkiller and ointment to be applied for a week. It’s day 3 and blisters burst. Although her hand is healing, it has started turning dark. There is clear difference between 2 hands. Will lavender oil reduce the darkness? Are there any other oils that I should use once her wounds heal?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Lavender oil is traditionally used on burns, but I don’t think it will have any effect on the darkened skin. My guess is that the color variation is due to the burn and that her skin color will balance back out as the burn heals. Of course, lavender essential oil can be used, properly diluted according to her age, on her burn as it can help support her skin during the healing process. Hope that answers your question. Thanks for your comment!

  16. rachel says:

    Thank you for your article. It was very insightful on how to treat burn wounds!
    My little girl recently scalded her belly and it has healed nicely. However, I am still worried that it may still leave a dark mark on her. May I ask if the hyperpigmentation (dark marks) around your baby’s wrist, has it faded back to its original tone after so many years?
    Provided that immediate and appropriate care such as sunscreen was provided on the burn wound; I also wonder if the dark burn marks on an adult,( my husband recently scalded himself as well), would it fade back to its original tone after 1-2 years?
    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Yes, Rachel. He’s 6 now, and there’s no sign whatsoever of the burn on his wrist. I’m not sure how a second-degree burn would affect an adult. I’d say it would depend on how you cared for the skin and how you were nourishing your body as to whether it would scar or not. I’d think a third-degree scar would be more likely to burn, though.

  17. Key says:

    Hi Meagan, I need your help. Sunday night hot grits popped on my son face. He’s 7 months. It’s 2nd degree burn. I’m really concerned about it scaring on his jaw. Where can I get the oil you mentioned in your store to use to prevent scarring?

    Thank you

  18. logan says:

    how do the essential oils and stuff help burns?

  19. Pat says:

    Hi Meagan,

    When a scab forms from air drying, would u suggest leaving the scab or soaking it off?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      I left the scab and did not scrub at it or mess with it at all. I simply added ointment and a bandage over it. If you look over this blog post again, you’ll be able to see when I started allowing it to air dry and form a scab. You’ll also see an update I made to the article about when to follow dry wound protocols versus moist wound protocols. Hope that helps!

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