Node view

First Aid for Tar or Plastic Burns

British Columbia Specific Information

Burns can damage your skin and other body tissues. Burns can be caused by heat, cold injuries, exposure to chemicals, and electrical injuries. For any of these injuries, it is important that you receive first aid right away to stop further damage and even save your life. For information on first aid for burns, see Burns and Electric Shock Home Treatment.

If you are concerned about a possible chemical burn, call Poison Control right away at 1-800-567-8911 toll-free in British Columbia or 604-682-5050 in Greater Vancouver. If you have an injury caused by a chemical burn, you should see a health care provider right away.

For more information on chemical burns, visit British Columbia Drug and Poison Information Centre. If you are concerned about a serious burn, call 9-1-1. For more information or if you are not sure whether to contact a health care provider, call 8-1-1 and speak to one of our registered nurses anytime of the day or night.

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.

Credits

Current as of:
February 26, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine