Can Cigarette Burns Leave Scars? How to Treat Them

Can Cigarette Burns Leave Scars How to Treat Them

Cigarette burns can occur due to two major reasons, either accidentally or as a result of abuse. As the skin comes in contact with the lit end of the cigarette, the burn occurs, which could be minor or major.   

Often, getting brushed against a cigarette in a crowded place such as bars or clubs where people are often seen smoking comes under the accidental cause of cigarette burn scar. Likewise, getting burned by a cigarette when it is placed unattended can also give burned scars.

When Do You Get a Cigarette Burn Scar?

When do you get a cigarette burn scar

It is not necessary that every cigarette burn will give you a scar. If it has burned only the top layer of the skin, the wound will heal completely within a few days, leaving no scars. 

However, when the wound penetrates deeper, the chances of getting a scar increase. Sometimes, these scars stay forever. 

Therefore, preventing getting scars is the first step to avoiding them. And, if you still get the burn, treating it in a timely and correct manner will reduce the chances of getting the scar. 

Let’s look into some effective preventive measures, home remedies, and treatments for cigarette burn scars. 

How to Prevent Cigarette Burn Scar?

As it’s clear that you need to have a cigarette around you to get a cigarette burn scar, avoid it in the first place. Here’s all you can do to prevent-

  • Minimize or completely avoid smoking
  • Do not keep a burnt cigarette unattended, especially around children 
  • Avoid smoking in a drowsy condition 
  • Do not smoke while driving 
  • Stay away from people holding cigarettes in crowded areas  

How to Treat Cigarette Burns?

Treat cigarette burns

A scar develops only when the burn goes deeper into the layers of the skin. Therefore, treating the wounds as soon as possible is essential to avoid or keep the scar to a minimum. 

Usually, how the burned wound will be treated depends upon its depth in the skin. Based on it, the burns are divided into-

First degree Skin burns– It means the cigarette has burned only the upper layer of the skin. Such burns cause redness, pain, and swelling in the skin. However, they heal after a few days without scarring the skin. 

The best you can do to ease first-degree burns include the following (1)-

  • Immediately apply a cold compress 
  • Soak the injury with a damp cloth 
  • Keep the burned area below tap water 
  • Cover the area with a clean, sterile cloth 
  • No, do not put adhesive bandage 

Usually, first-degree burns do not require any ointment or medication. However, if you are feeling pain, take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to get some relief. 

Second degree Skin Burn- When the burn affects the outermost and the middle layer of the skin, it is considered a second-degree burn. In such a case, you may feel severe pain in the burned area. After a few minutes, blisters will appear, and the skin will turn glossy, leaking fluid.  

Usually, such burns take time to heal, probably 10 to 15 days, and leave scars. Luckily, such scars can be minimized by taking prompt action after the burn (2). These are-

  • Let the wound stay soaked in cold water for 15 minutes. 
  • Once done, dry the area with a clean and sterile cloth or gauze.
  • Allow blisters to heal themselves. Do not pick or break them.
  • Do not apply any ointment. 

For pain, you can take OTC medicines. If you see any sign of infection over the blisters, seek medical help. 

Third degree Skin burn– This type of burn is the most severe and requires immediate medical attention. It causes intense pain and leaves a permanent scar on the body (3). The burns penetrate deeper into the skin, and healing takes more than two months.

Luckily, cigarette burns are not third-degree unless cigarettes are used intentionally to burn the skin (in the cases of physical abuse).

As a first aid, you can do the following-

  • Cover the burned area with a sterile gauze 
  • Do not soak the area in water
  • Do not apply any ointment 
  • Immediately call medical help

Natural Treatment for Cigarette Burn Scar?

If you have got a scar due to cigarette burn, following treatments and home remedies can help-

  • Apply sunscreen (SPF 30 or more) to prevent redness and fade the scar faster 
  • Use home remedies such as aloe vera and honey that provide a cooling effect and help in faster healing
  • Cover the area with creams enriched in Vitamin E 
  • Apply a mixture of baking soda and rosehip on the affected areas
  • Massage daily for 5 minutes with coconut oil or olive oil 

Does Cigarette Burn Need Medical Attention?

If the burn is minor, first aid, like soaking the area in cold water and other home remedies, helps. However, in the following cases, you need to visit a doctor-

  • Extreme pain in the burned area
  • Burn on face or joints 
  • Oozing fluid 
  • The burned area is getting infected 

How Long Does the Cigarette Burn Scar Take to Fade?

The intensity and duration of the scar depend upon the degree of burn. Usually, first-degree burns do not cause any scars; however, they get intense in second and third-degree burns. 

Usually, scars stay on the skin for a few months to years but keep fading with time. Most fading occurs in the first six months. 


Whether you got the cigarette burned accidentally or due to physical abuse, the scar will appear if it is deep. When the wound reaches the middle and deep layers of the skin, getting scars is obvious. However, the good thing is it will fade over time. 

Taking prompt and right action can help provide huge relief from cigarette burn scars. It will heal the wound faster and reduce the chances of developing an infection.

Feature Image Source – freepik


  1. National Library of Medicine – First Degree Burn
  2. Onlinelibrary.wiley – Treatment of superficial and deep partial width second degree burn’s wound with allogeneic cord blood platelet gel
  3. National Library of Medicine – Burn Evaluation and Management

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