Kids Health Info

Burns on the face

  • Facial burns occur when hot fluid, flame (fire) or chemicals come in contact with the skin of the face and cause an injury to the skin.


    It is difficult to keep a dressing on the face of children with facial burns.  However, we need to apply something to keep the burn injury moist, free of infection and comfortable. We use Vaseline to do this. It is safe, gentle and soothing.

    It is important to wash your child's face twice each day when they are undergoing treatment for a burn to the face.

    Care at home

    How to apply the Vaseline:

    • If required, give your child some pain relief, e.g. paracetamol, before cleaning their face.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and dry with a clean towel.
    • Clean the face gently with water.
    • Apply the Vaseline to the face by using a big cotton swab, gauze or your clean hands.
    • Apply a ½ cm thick layer of Vaseline onto the burn.
    • Clean and reapply the Vaseline twice a day.
    • If you notice your child has rubbed the Vaseline off in between times just apply more.

    The skin will start to form scabs as it heals.  Once a scab has formed, stop using the Vaseline on that part and apply a moisturiser such as unperfumed sorbolene.  You can shower/bath your child as normal on the non-burnt skin.

    When to come back to hospital

    You will need to come back to see either the doctor in outpatients or your local doctor so they can check how well the burned skin is healing. The nurse or doctor will arrange this appointment for you before you go home.

    Key points to remember

    • Keep the face clean to minimise the risk of infection.
    • The new skin will take seven to 10 days to heal depending on how severe and deep the burn is.
    • Any areas that have not healed after about two weeks may need further medical intervention. The doctors will discuss this with you when your child is reviewed.
    • Remember to continue to use the Vaseline on the burnt areas that have not yet formed a scab.
    • Seek medical advice if:
      • you notice any new or different discharge on the face or if your child is in more pain
      • your child has trouble eating or drinking normal amounts.

    For more information

    Kids Health Info factsheets:


    Developed by RCH departments: Emergency, Outpatients, 4 Main. First published 2004. Updated June 2015.

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.