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Skin Burning - Diagnosing and Treatments

Skin Burning - Diagnosing and Treatments

Types of Skin Burning

A skin burning sensation is a relatively common feeling that usually is caused by some injury. One of the most common causes of burning skin is a sunburn, but other types of burns can produce the same sensation. When skin burning occurs as the result of an injury, the trauma can usually be seen on the surface of the skin in the form of redness, a rash, or blisters. When skin burning occurs without an apparent cause, it may be a symptom of a more severe underlying problem.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Numerous medical conditions can cause the sensation of skin burning. Some of the most common include diabetes, shingles, circulation problems, and skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, fungal infections, or rosacea. Skin burning may also arise as the result of allergic reactions to chemicals, dry skin, or extensive cleansing. Women commonly experience skin burning during pregnancy as the result of the rapid stretching of the skin.

When to Seek Medical Attention

In most cases, the cause of skin burning is not severe, and simple home remedies are often effective in treating the symptom. Avoiding sunlight and exposure to hot water is often helpful. If itchiness accompanies a burning sensation, the skin should not be scratched as doing so can make the problem worse. Stress may further aggravate skin burning and itchiness. When burning is severe or does not subside within a reasonable amount of time, it is important to seek prompt medical attention to rule out potentially serious underlying conditions.


Doctors are after able to determine the cause of burning skin based upon the patient's exact symptoms and a physical examination. During the exam, the doctor closely examines the surface, checking for injuries and potential sources of pain. Additional tests may be performed to rule out nerve or circulation disorders. When a cause cannot be determined, the patient may be referred to a dermatologist for further examination and testing.

Treatment Options

Patients may require various forms of treatment to cure burning skin. Most cases can be treated using topical ointments or lotions. Doctors may also prescribe muscle relaxers or other medications to control painful burning sensations. When underlying conditions such as diabetes are detected, doctors will begin patients on an effective course of treatment aimed at managing the underlying condition. Burning skin usually is not a sign of a serious problem, so the prognosis is generally good. When caused by an underlying condition, the prognosis is best when the problem is detected early.