What Does a Burning Sensation of the Skin Mean?


Quick Answer

A burning sensation of the skin can mean that the patient is afflicted with St. Anthony's fire, according to MedicineNet. Mayo Clinic suggests chilblains may cause a burning sensation, the Skin Cancer Foundation cautions against sunburn, and shingles is also a possible cause for a burning sensation, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

St. Anthony's fire is a catch-all term for a family of inflammatory skin diseases such as ergotism or erysipelas. Ergotism occurs when a person has eaten ergotamines, says MedicineNet.com. These are substances produced by a fungus that attacks wheat or rye. Erysipelas is caused when the skin is infected by strep bacteria.

Chilblains occur when the skin is exposed to cold and then brought into a warm environment, says Mayo Clinic. The small blood vessels in the skin become inflamed. Usually, chilblains go away on their own and can often be soothed with lotions or topical medications.

Sunburn is also a cause for the sensation of burning skin, claims the Skin Cancer Foundation. The thing to do when a person feels the initial burn of overexposure to the sun is to get out of the sun and begin to treat the damage. This includes soothing the area with a lotion or moisturizing cream, making sure the body stays well-hydrated and administering nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.

Shingles, a painful eruption caused by the varicella-zoster virus, also causes a burning sensation in the skin before erupting into a rash, according to WebMD. It can be treated with antiviral medications.

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