Symptoms and Signs of Chemical Burns

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Chemical Burns

A chemical burn is damage or injury to tissue caused by direct contact with a toxic chemical or its fumes. Although many different chemicals can cause injury, chemical burns are most commonly caused by strong acids or strong basis. Examples of chemicals that can cause chemical burns in the home include pool chlorinators, bleach, metal cleaners, and drain or toilet cleaners.

Signs and symptoms of a chemical burn are related to the extent and site of the burn on the body and the substance causing the burn. Typical symptoms are irritation, redness, and burning pain at the injured site. Blisters may form on the skin. Other associated signs and symptoms depend on the site of the burn and can include vision loss if the eye is involved, numbness, and the presence of black, necrotic (dead) skin.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.