Q. Some time ago I heard an unusual home remedy on your radio show: using Elmer’s glue to prevent blistering on a burned hand. I burned myself last night and initially iced my hand.

Since I’ve never had much luck with icing burns, I decided to try the glue method, which consists in spreading glue over the burned area and letting it harden. I repeated this covering a couple of time to form something like a second skin over the burn. Eight hours later, as I write, the skin is a little tender, but there are no blisters. This is really neat.

A. This is one of the more unusual home remedies people use on burns. Rapidly cooling the skin first with cold water is important. In addition to helping reduce the pain, it stops the heat from making the burn worse.
We have no idea why Elmer’s glue might ease the pain of a household burn. Others report success with soy sauce or yellow mustard. A serious burn deserves medical attention and should have nothing other than cool water applied to it at home.

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  1. Mono P
    West Virginia

    You put glue on scorched skin to seal off oxygen from getting into the burn immediately (helps with scar)in addition to putting cold water on burn to help with pain and to stop the skin from further cooking.

  2. Monica

    I have had two very bad burns and was told to plunge my arm into cold water. I did this but it only helped as long as the arm remained in the water. Eventually I dried it off and applied honey to the burns, wrapped a cloth loosely around my arm and left it on for a full day. Result! No blisters, no pain and perfect healing.

  3. Debbie

    I used to work in a production plant where hot glue was used to seal boxes (about 300 degrees). The nozzle had been bumped on the glue machine and as a result I had hot glue sealing my eye shut. I have used vitamin E for years with great results, pain quickly gone, no blister & no scar.
    I had been trying to get others where I worked to use this and after seeing me the day after the occurrence with no visible sign of a burn, it made a believer of everyone. I kept a jar of vitamin E on hand and just prick the end with a pin (or bite it open) and drizzle it on.
    Recently, though, the burn was in a place where I could not keep the E on so I found DOCTOR’S CHOICE advanced wound care at my local shopping center. When I visited my doctor regarding the burn she was pleased to see I had found these “bandages” which hospitals have used for years and are finally available to the public.

  4. Bob H.

    Burns, abrasions have, since 1946, been treated with Preparation H ointment. Used on burns…no blisters and pain is gone in minutes. The original ointment was called Sperti Biodyne from Sperti Lab. FDA removed the Bio Dyne,and it become Sperti Ointment. Sperti ointment and Preparation H have identical chemicals. Whitehall bought Sperti, and discontinued Sperti ointment in favor of Preparation H.
    I write this because I have used this ointment for over 60 years. In fact when I chopped off a large chunk of a finger, all I did was squeeze Prep.H onto the mess and bandage it with gauze, within ten minutes the pain disappeared and today, 25 years later, there is no scar, other than a weird looking fingernail. Thanks for listening.
    Vaya con Dios, Bob

  5. Merrily

    Just saw on the Ellen Show that rubbing Elmer’s Glue on your face-specifically the nose and letting it dry and then pulling it off like a second skin removes blackheads. Why wouldn’t this work to remove other abrasions on the face?

  6. Lou

    I burned my left wrist about two weeks ago, trying to get a hot pan out of the oven. I had potholders but my wrist touched the grids and I ended up with grid marks like on a steak. I’ve heard the main thing is to close out any air. So I applied some “paint on skin” I had in a bottle and there was no blistering. I used it daily for 3-4 days to ensure the area was air tight and after a week I had only some scabbing. Now I have some scars, but no pain at all during all that time.

  7. Santiago E.

    A few years ago, while driving on a country road in the middle of nowhere, my truck started overheating I stopped and opened the hood and without thinking open the radiator cap, boiling water showered my arms and chest I got burned very badly. I immediately removed my shirt, my entire chest and both arms were red hot, no water nearby, I desperately search the globe box and found a Colgate tooth paste, being the only thing I had on hand. Again without thinking I rubbed all the tooth paste on my arms and chest, within seconds I felt relief, a few minutes late the red and itching disappeared, and no blisters no marks not a scar or anything like that. Since then I got burned once again with hot water and did the same thing, tooth paste, it’s good, try it. may work for you.

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