Cinco Vidas quote Cinco Vidas quote Cinco Vidas quote Cinco Vidas quote Cinco Vidas quote Cinco Vidas quote
5 Pillars of Cinco Vidas - Beauty, Hope, Purpose, Safety, Health & Wellness

Cinco Vidas Blog

by author, natural beauty expert & cancer survivor Britta AragonRSS

Ouch—How to Heal a Curling Iron Burn and Prevent Scarring

By Britta Aragon on April 2, 2013 | 38 Comments

Curling Iron BurnThe curling iron has been around for more than 100 years, but we are still burning ourselves with it.

“Unfortunately, I burned my arm with a curling iron yesterday,” says one forum member. “Today my arm feels fine, although there is a nasty dark spot now.”

“I burned myself on my curling tong again this last week,” says blogger Zoe Foster. “I burn myself because I’m usually in a rush, and not being mindful that the tool in my hand is a scorching, skin-sizzling 220 degrees, and am doing odd angles with my arms and hair….”

I think this is really why most of us get burned—we use the curling iron so often that we become careless with it. Regardless of why we get burned, the important thing is to treat that burn right away. Like any skin wound, it can leave a scar, which is definitely something we don’t want!

1: Cool It Down

Healing a burn from a curling iron is similar to healing any burn—your first step should be to cool it down. Apply cold water immediately! The faster you can cool the burn the more you’ll be able to prevent damage to the skin, which reduces the risk of scarring.

After the initial cooling, if you can, continue to cool the burn for about 20 minutes by applying cold water or cold compresses. Don’t use ice, however, as that can further damage the skin.

Once you’ve tamed the initial burn, try my Rescue + Relief Spray (store in the refrigerator) for cooling, healing relief.

2: Protect the Area

The second thing you need to do is protect the burned skin. You can apply an antibacterial ointment to keep the wound moist and sterile. Some people like to use natural protective salves like tea tree oil and yogurt. These may help, but they can also cause irritation, depending on how bad your burn is. Aloe has been shown in studies to help burns heal, and it’s also a natural antibacterial, so this one is usually a safe bet—just make sure it’s pure aloe, not a 10% solution.

Next, cover the area with a band-aid or sterile gauze to protect it as you go about your day. Avoid applying makeup to the area so that it can heal without risk of infection. Continue to protect the area until the skin has closed and the scab is gone. No matter what, don’t pick or scratch at the wound, as that only increases scarring.

3. Start to Moisturize

Once the wound has healed over and is no longer open or oozing, it’s important to start moisturizing. This will help keep the skin supple to avoid scarring. Try my Body Repair Lotion for burns on the body—it contains calming aloe and calendula. Use my Calming Moisture for burns on the face. It also has aloe as well as oat extract, which helps reduce post-healing itching and redness.

4. Treat the Scar

Once the wound has healed, it typically leaves behind a dark-colored scar. When your skin reaches this stage, you can treat it like you would any scar. First step—exfoliation. Try gentle acids like malic, lactic, and salicylic to break up the scarred tissue, but avoid rough scrubs that may further damage skin. You can use the same products you would use on your face on the scarred area, even if it appears on your arm or your neck.

Next, continue moisturizing. Try my Restorative Skin Balm overnight, as it is made for reducing the appearance of scars, and will help protect the skin as it continues to heal.

You may also want to try a lightening product—look for those that include vitamin C, licorice root extract, uva ursi extract, and white tea extract. These are all natural ingredients that encourage skin lightening and brightening and will help fade the scar over time. While you’re treating the skin with both exfoliation and lightening, don’t forget to protect the area from the sun. Even five minutes of UV-exposure can erase all your progress, so cover the scar with clothes or use zinc oxide sunscreen.

Prevent the Burn!

It may take time, but your curling iron burn will most likely eventually fade. Best bet—don’t get the burn in the first place! Try these tips for preventing curling iron burns:

  • Invest in a curling iron with a plastic tip to protect your fingers.
  • Set the heating level as low as possible for the results you want—this is not only good for your skin, but for your hair as well!
  • Go slow—if you’re in a hurry, pick a hairstyle that doesn’t require curling.
  • Use a comb between the curling iron and your scalp.
  • Be conscious of your forehead and neck when you curl—most burns occur when doing bangs or the short hairs at the back of the neck, so use extra caution when curling these areas.
  • Look for a curling iron with a heat resistant, comfortable handle that makes it easy to keep your grip while styling.
  • Consider using hot rollers instead—they create softer, more natural looking curls, and cause less damage to the hair and skin than curling irons do.

Have you suffered from a curling iron burn? Please share your tips on treatment or prevention.

Picture courtesy Surachai via

Posted in: Hair Care, Skin, Lip and Body Care

38 Comments to “Ouch—How to Heal a Curling Iron Burn and Prevent Scarring”

  1. Ellie Sue says:

    A few weeks after using a triple antibiotic ointment on the burn and it is starting to heal, try using Mederma – a scar healing gel. Can be purchased over the counter.

  2. justine says:

    it never scars. (as long as you have a healthy immune system.) i got a burn and it didn’t scar. my girlfriend got a burn on her left thigh and it didn’t scar. then her friend found out she had hiv and her burn never healed. if you take vitamins, put coco butter, vitamin e, honey, it will fade and go away.

  3. Lousy says:

    I suffer from this burning from the culing iron the last 5 days.
    At the beginning I had a intense red scar on my right cheek, visible enough and I put some penaten creme which wasn’t a good idea since the wound was pouring fluid and felt incovenient.
    Then after 2 hours I put some aloe vera leaf divided in 2 and it was a bit better and of course I used the natural gel from the aloe vera leaf. From the 2nd day the aloe wasn’t good enough since I was feeling a bit pain and I felt that the wound since it wasn’t that deep needed to be moisturised, so I put a Bepantene cream (really thick and oily) and I have it all day on my cheek (visible too :( ) and I change it every 2 hours and the scar now is pink and much better. At least I don’t feel any pain and I think I won’t have any visible scar at the end.
    I don’t know how long it will take to be cured and not visible but I hope not longer than a month!

  4. Britta Aragon says:

    Thanks for writing in with your experience! I hope the tips here help you fade that scar. When it’s completely healed, try exfoliating a bit more often and use things like kojic acid and licorice to encourage more fading.

  5. Grace Mango says:

    I burned myself last night. Its the size of a tennis ball. and Its really dark. I burn myself alot but it always heals. I always put vitamin E on it and it always helps heal but I dont think its gonna help my leg.

  6. Britta Aragon says:

    I’m sorry to hear that, Grace. Take care and keep applying your vitamin E and moisturizer. Bigger burns do tend to create more noticeable scars, but with regular attention you should be able to minimize it.

  7. Candace says:

    I burned myself with a curling rod last week and at first there was a blister . This week the blister/skin peeled off and it is bleeding. I wonder if I need to see a doctor as every time I go to change the dressing it sticks to the wound and once I get it off it begins to bleed again.

  8. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Candace. Thanks for sharing your experience, but ouch! Sounds painful. You may want to check with a doctor, as you don’t want an infection. That’s the biggest concern. You want to make sure it stays clean. Take care of yourself!

  9. jenna says:

    i burned my arm with a curler like a half-hour ago and the skin is forming a blister and it’s kind of turning green… not sure why that is i mean i’ve burned myself before(it was on my neck and it was a black spot and a nasty one!) but it healed and it did scar but it is not visible unless you really focus in it, anyway so is it okay with whats happening to my arm? or should i wait till tomorrow morning to see??

  10. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Jenna. Sorry about your burn! Did it get better the next day? The main thing you want to be careful of is infection. The curling iron may have had some bacteria on it, which can infect the wound. Be sure to keep it clean and moisturized. Check with your doctor if it gets worse. Good luck!

  11. Caillin says:

    I have just burnt my self on the curler about a 25 minutes ago, I looked on our first aid book, and it is now cooled, and I have placed a bandaid with antiseptic cooling cream on it. However, it still stings. It’s only small, about the size of a mosquito bite and is red and slightly swollen. I haven’t actually told my mum because she’s not home, but I wonder if she should know if I have it under control?

  12. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Caillin. Aloe vera is usually one of the best natural alternatives for burns. If you have any of that, I would advise using it as it has a cooling effect on the skin. If you ever get burned again, remember to always apply cold water for several minutes to cool the skin. That will also help alleviate the burning sensation.

  13. Wendy French says:

    Having burnt my inner arm (very tender part of skin) with my straightening iron, it’s been 5 days and I cannot get it to heal.. It’s in the most inconvenient areas whereas I’m constantly rubbing the wound against my clothing etc, so I’m finding I’m needing to keep it covered.. It’s just not healing. It’s hurting more now than the day it happened! It’s very deep and the skin refuses to form on the burn (a good 5cmx3cm).. Do you think I need to get this looked at by a doc? I don’t want to look like a right wimp if there’s a solution to the healing process that I can do myself?

  14. Britta Aragon says:

    Ouch, Wendy. That sounds painful. Don’t be afraid to see the doc—always better to be safe than sorry. Keeping it covered is a good idea during the day—make sure it’s not getting infected. Many irons have germs on them because we rarely clean them, so that could be causing some of the problem. You may already be cleaning it every day and applying bacteria-killing ointments? You could try leaving it bare at night while you’re sleeping. Good luck and take care of yourself!

  15. sana says:

    Hi, yesterday i burned my face with a curling iron. It is just below my eyebrow. I did not cool it, and it slowly started to go purplish and was stinging for a good couple of hours. Once i took my make-up off, it was all dark red and had left a mark! It looks like a burn mark now. I have been putting savlon anticeptic cream on it. Will it scar? And what should i do to help prevent it from scarring/healing?

  16. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Sana. So sorry about the burn. Yes, cooling it immediately is usually key to reducing the potential scarring. From here on out I would recommend lots of moisture and some of the products mentioned in this post. You can also try rosehip seed oil, calendula and helichrysum essential oils for hydration and scar-reducing properties. Good luck!

  17. Shani says:

    I burned my arm with a curling iron on the 1st of May and it’s finally healing. I attempted to cool it with a popsicle (the only thing I could find at the time and didn’t know about cold water) and then applied castor oil and covered it. Not a good idea. I was still in pain but the skin was in tact. The following day, I began using Neosporin and covering it but I accidentally scratched it and tore off the skin. UGH! Now there’s pink flesh exposed. Since about the 3rd of May until now I’ve stuck with Neosporin and keeping it covered to avoid infection but every time I change it whatever has healed peels off and I have to start all over. I spray it 2-3 times per day with alcohol before reapplying the Neosporin. Very painful. Yesterday was the first day I left it open all day (only spraying it with alcohol to keep it clean) and that seems to help with the healing – it’s not very painful when I spray the alcohol. Now I only cover it at night before bed and leave it open during the day. The pink is turning lighter and seems to be healing better but when I remove the bandage in the morning a little of the healing still peels off. Sorry this is so long but I’ve never experienced this before and I want to know what to do (next) to speed up the healing and minimize scarring. Thanks!

  18. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Shani. Nothing like having something that you think is a small injury go on and on, right? I’m wondering what sort of bandage you’re using that it’s peeling off skin every time? You may want to try some gauze and first-aid tape instead? I worry too about you applying the alcohol so often. Yes, it kills germs, but it’s also harsh on skin. Your neosporin has germ-fighting ingredients so I don’t think you need the alcohol. Simply let it soak when you bathe and night and that should keep it clean. I also would really recommend my Restorative Skin Balm now to help moisturize and decrease scarring. The product was recently recognized in Fashion Magazine as a green first-aid kit. Good luck and be careful!

  19. Shani says:

    Thanks for responding. I was using the standard (large) BandAid bandages and it has done quite a number on my skin. Not only did it peel off the burned part that was attempting to heal, but it also peeled off my skin it was adhered to and now I have scarring on the burn and the skin where the BandAid was… And with the weather so beautiful now I can’t wear short sleeves because of the damage done. The burn is healed now, just badly scarred (pink with dark pigmented spots) so I will definitely look into getting your Restorative Skin Balm to help with the scarring. Thanks again.

  20. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Shani. Oh good. I’m so glad to hear that it has healed. Make sure you do use sunscreen on it when you do decide to bare the skin again. I am still very sensitive on my neck where my surgery was way back during my cancer treatments, and old scars can really burn, so do be careful there. So strange on the BandAid as usually they do come off okay, but a good lesson for us all. Hope you continue to recover well! All the best.

  21. konvict mohsin says:

    My face and neck burn from gas cylinder and it leave a ugly black big three spots
    Please tell me the procedure how i repair it
    And also my two hands were burn badly

  22. Britta Aragon says:

    This sounds like a serious burn. This site does not offer medical advice—please see your doctor and take care of yourself.

  23. Olivia says:

    Hi, over a week ago, the curling iron slipped out of my hand and burned my thigh &it sure hurt a lot. My wound is kind of healing as my doctor prescribed me flamozine. Its summer and I luv to tan, however the burn hurts, not a good idea to expose to the sun? When it is completely healed I plan on using bio oil. Any other tipps in regards to speeding the healing? and reduce scarring?

  24. Olivia says:

    As well good to leave it dry or covered with flamozine?
    When I cover with flamozine the wound stays moist and is extremely tender.

  25. Riley says:

    I burned my shoulder with a 180 degree curling wand yesterday night. It’s a small burn but has blistered only a little bit. I applied aloe vera gel and most recently, Neosporin. Do you have any tips on how to make the burn go away quickley?

  26. […] Article about treating a burn- Note this article mentions to avoice makeup on your burn. I have read many others that say it's okay if its a 1st degree burn and has healed over a bit. I would suggest only wearing makeup when you need to and taking it off as soon as you are home from work/school/ect., but to each their own. I have burned my self several times and have never had an infection or scaring by applying concealer over it.… […]

  27. Tally says:

    I have burned my face 3 nights ago with a curling iron. I have rubbed vitamin E on it, ice, and aloe vera. The burn does not hurt but I want this mark off my face, what is the best cure to make the burn mark fade away?
    Thank you

  28. Tania says:

    I got burn with the tip of my curling iron on the side of my leg this morning I cooled it off with water for about 10 min. It’s been 12 hours now and I noticed I got a air bubble. Is this normal?

  29. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Olivia. Definitely—your skin is already damaged and the sun will make it worse and potentially permanent, so protect it for now. Dose the wound regularly with good, nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and natural oils. Coconut might be a really good one in your circumstance. Apply several times a day for optimal benefits. Be patient and wait for complete healing!

  30. Britta Aragon says:

    Once the wound has closed it’s usually better to leave it dry. Before then, the concern is infection, so just be sure to keep it clean.

  31. Britta Aragon says:

    Aloe is one of the best things you can apply, so keep that up. Make sure you’re using the purest form possible. Many products use only 10% in a formula. I would also suggest my Rescue + Relief Spray—it’s full of healing ingredients that may speed up the process for you. Good luck!

  32. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Tally. So sorry about your burn. The best advice I have is to keep it moisturized with nourishing products. Avoid those with chemicals and choose plant-based items that will truly help your skin to heal. It will take time. Once the burn is completely healed, add exfoliation to your routine to remove that top layer of skin and reveal new cells underneath. Just be sure to wait so you don’t aggravate the wound. Good luck.

  33. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Tania. Sounds like a blister. Keep the wound covered until that heals, okay? It can burst and increase risk of infection. Keep the wound clean and apply aloe vera for cooling. If it gets worse, be sure to check with your dermatologist.

  34. Olivia says:

    ~TY Britta Aragon!
    God Bless :)

  35. Molly says:

    I just burned my finger on my curling iron I rinsed it and kept my finger in cold water for about ten or so minutes and I don’t know what to do next please help

  36. Britta Aragon says:

    Ouch, Molly. Sorry! Keep it clean and watch for signs of infection (redness, swelling). Cover it for the first few days and then as long as the wound is closed expose to the air for complete healing. After that, keep it moisturized and use aloe and other natural oils to reduce scarring. Good luck!

  37. Bella says:

    i burnt myself on the back of my arm with a curling iron Lady night and I instantly put pure virgin coconut oil on it and then put and ice pack on it right After to keep it from burning and scarring. but now it is a big btwn welt on my arm with a sort of reddish look to it. it buns slightly but not that bad. I just really dont want it to scar.

  38. Amanda says:

    I burned myself today and I imedeatly knew to put cold water on it
    It’s best to use a soft cloth and dab, not rub, for about 30min.

Leave a Reply



Win my book!

"Like" CV fan page on facebook for a chance to win When Cancer Hits

Become A Fan Now


What's your skin condition?

Select from the list below:

CV Resource Center

Find a spa

Find Wig Salons, Organic Spas, Oncology Estheticians, Alternative Therapy Clinics in your area. Click here