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.
Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.