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First Aid for Tar or Plastic Burns

Topic Overview

Immediately run cold water over the hot tar or hot plastic to cool the tar or plastic and stop the burning.

Do not attempt to peel the tar or plastic off after it has cooled. This may remove skin that is stuck to the tar or plastic. To remove tar or plastic, loosen it with mineral oil or ointments such as Vaseline or Polysporin. Tar will likely peel off after a few days as the skin cells below the tar flake off normally.

After the tar or plastic is removed, wash and treat the burned skin. If you have any trouble removing tar or plastic from the skin, you need an evaluation by a doctor.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised December 27, 2012

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