What’s your recipe for treating a chemical burn?

Written by Erin Ferrill, L.E.

Achemical peel burn is every skin care professional’s worst nightmare, but no matter how skilled the professional, burns can happen. The causes can be many – an undiagnosed skin condition or undisclosed medication, perhaps even sun exposure that the client considered negligible or forgot about.


If a burn occurs, it is important to know what to do so you can act quickly and help your client recover without scarring or long-term damage:

  • Gently remove any remaining chemical. If the burn is already open or very irritated, the best method is to run cool water over the area until all traces have been removed.
  • Remove any article that has come in contact with the chemical. Be sure that the chemical has not been absorbed by any clothing or has come in contact with any jewelry where it could continue to sit on the skin. 
  • Keep the burned area clean. If the burn is very open or deep it may be beneficial to cover it with a loose, dry dressing in order to protect it from irritants. Choose a material and dressing method that will not allow the wrapping to stick to the open burn. 
  • If the burn is not open, oozing, or deep, aloe vera gel may be applied to cool, comfort, and hydrate the area. Be sure that only 100 percent aloe vera is applied as some products can contain alcohol.
  • If the burn is open, oozing, or very deep, instruct your client to consult a dermatologist before using any topical medications or treatments. 
  • Instruct your client to entirely avoid sun exposure, tanning beds, and the use of any topical skin care product or makeup until the burn has completely healed.

While a burn can feel like the end of the world, if properly cared for, it is likely that your client will recover without any permanent impact on their skin. What is most important is that the area is treated correctly and that the client is directed to visit a doctor or dermatologist in the case of a serious burn. If the situation is handled correctly, your client may even trust you more in the end because they know that you are capable of taking care of them, even when things go wrong.


Erin-Ferrill 2014Erin Ferrill is a licensed aesthetician and the director of east coast sales and education for the award-winning, anti-aging collection, HydroPeptide. She focuses her team to build meaningful relationships with spas throughout the country with an emphasis on helping spas offer the most coveted treatments available and enhancing retailing for the benefit of the business, the aesthetician and the client. Additionally, Ferrill is honored to serve as a Look Good Feel Better volunteer program leader for the American Cancer Society, helping cancer patients deal with the appearance related side effects of treatment.
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