Chemical scalp burns are usually caused by hair products such as dyes, bleaches or relaxers.Minor irritation and redness are common when getting hair processes done, but severe burns deep into the skin are a rare occurrence. However, chemical burns on the scalp can cause hair to break and stop growing in burned areas.
Scar tissue can form. The extent of the burn depends on the amount of chemical used, the amount of time the skin was exposed to the hair chemical and other factors. In this article I will explain a few ways to treat a burn at home, but it is important to note that some burns require professional medical help. It is best to seek the advice of a medical professional who can see and assess your individual burn first.
Do you still feel heat in the area of the burn?
The damage can continue even when you are no longer in contact with the item that burned you in the first place. That’s why running a burn under cold water feels so good, because it’s actually cooling the affected area. However, do NOT place ice on the burn, as it changes the temperature of the tissues too quickly and can incur further damage.If the chemical is a solid or a dust, brush your scalp off immediately--don't use your fingers, or they can get burned, too. Y ou may be able to flush a liquid burn with water and using a cloth to dry. Be mindful of potential chemical reactions and side effects. Some chemicals may react with water to release toxic compounds or worsen a burn. Dowsing pure sodium with water, for instance, can even start a fire! Protect yourself by reading labels to determine reactivity. Seek medical attention if you have to.
If you can flush the area with water, do so copiously.
- Remove earrings, hairpins, hats and other items that may have come in contact with the chemical.
- Pay particular attention to the eyes.
- Dress the area in loose-fitting, dry bandages and observe.
- Use appropriate ointments to treat peeling, itching, and blistering.
3 Steps to sooth the burn
1. Remove the heat source and run the burn under cold water for at least 30 seconds.
2. Rinse the burn with white or apple cider vinegar. Dab pure white or apple cider vinegar over the affected area.
3. Apply a burn cream or other healing salve with gauze, a clean towel or t-shirt.
Why vinegar helps
Weak acetic acid in vinegar balances the damaged skin’s pH, which accelerates healing and skin regeneration. This also reduces the amount of scar tissue. Did you know there is a patent filed stating that the mixture of any citrus juice and salt has been shown to “stop pain on contact, prevent blistering, cause the tissue to remain elastic, promote healing and prevent infection"?
Certain salves and ointments will help, too. Aquaphor is an affordable and effective option available at Target or Walgreens. Josie Maran Argan Balm is a good option for those who take the natural but store-bought route. Nourishing Joy shares a DIY recipe that is 100% natural.
DIY scalp burn salve
- 1/4 cup raw honey, preferably Manuka honey
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon beeswax
- 1 tablespoon Sea Buckthorn oil, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon aloe vera gel, aloe vera juice, or rosewater