Even on your worst hair day, you can count on your trusty curling iron to help you accomplish effortless Khloe Kardashian-esque waves in minutes. But dealing with a curling-iron burn from accidentally brushing or passing your clampless curling iron against your skin can be a long process. These painful burns can come in a variety of forms, including second- and third- degree burns, so looking out for specific signs in different areas can help you heal wounds caused by curling-iron burns. We spoke with Connecticut-based dermatologist and health writer Dr. Mona Gohara to find the best ways to deal with curling-iron burns while accelerating the healing process to prevent scarring and minimize pain.
For a Burn on Your Neck
Getting a curling-iron burn on any area of your neck can be a big pain. Not only can a blotchy red mark near your face distract people whom you're trying to hold a conversation with, but you might also have to go through stages of soreness, itchiness, and peeling. So, before you go reaching for your favorite concealer to cover up a mark, carefully wash the skin, since your neck area (which is often exposed to constant friction from clothing and sunlight) is very sensitive. "Use a mild non-soap cleanser with nourishing properties first. My favorite is the Dove Sensitive Skin Bar," Gohara says, who is also a board-certified dermatologist at Advanced DermaCare. Keeping the area clean and free of contact with long hair and irritating fabrics for the first few hours will result in a quicker recovery and prevent annoying urges to scratch.
For a Burn on Your Wrist
Although it's not the end of the world, experiencing a curling-iron burn on your wrist (usually a result of trying to dangle the curling rod downward in hopes of achieving long-lasting bombshell curls) can lead to blistering and peeling. It's easy to downplay a wrist burn, but doing so can lead to infections and long-term discoloration. Gohara suggests that you get started on the healing process immediately by keeping the burned area moisturized. "Gently apply a lubricating product such as Vaseline," she says, "[since] keeping the skin well hydrated promotes new cell growth and healing."
For a Burn on Your Forehead
We've all been there. One minute you're wrapping your side fringe into a perfect tight curl, the next you're whimpering in pain from accidentally pressing the hot iron against your forehead. A curling-iron burn on your forehead is not easy to hide, but using specific products to treat your fresh wound is the best step to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Gohara suggests avoiding over-the-counter antibiotic ointments since they can cause skin allergies and contribute to further redness. "But a broad Spectrum SPF of 30 or higher that provides protection from discoloration is essential," she says. Protecting your "beauty scar" from the sun can prevent damage caused by the skin erupting or blistering, so apply a cold compress to the area immediately, and try to steer clear of further heat.
For a Burn on Your Cheek
Although we wish burn marks on our faces could disappear as quickly as our sleek curls on a humid day, you might have to continue nursing a burn for weeks after it occurs. Gohara recommends that her clients choose products with ingredients like Zinc Oxide (reach for some Desitin Rapid Relief Cream if you're in a pinch). Still thinking about covering it up with foundation? After a couple of days, if there isn't any broken skin visible on or near your wound, minimal makeup is safe to use. As long as you're paying close attention to your burn and keeping an eye out for changes in color or texture, preventing permanent scarring is possible and you'll be back to being able to use your favorite wand in no time.