Mild, or first degree burns cause only reddening of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin), as seen in this photograph. Second degree burns cause blistering and extend into the dermis (lower layer of skin). Third degree burns cause tissue death through the dermis and affect underlying tissues.
Review Date 5/31/2022
Updated by: Elika Hoss, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.