While over-the-counter creams provide relief from pain and itching, they may not help burns from heal faster, according to research provided by ScienceDaily. Properly dressing burns coupled with the application of a home remedy - such as honey or aloe vera - may prove equally effective during the healing process, states the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Treatment options for treating first-degree burns at home include dressing burns with gauze to prevent further injury. Applying an over-the-counter burn cream that contains an antibiotic reduces the risk of infection, reports the AAFS. Those who experience second or third-degree burns should seek immediate medical attention to prevent infection. Second and third-degree burns require prescription medications along with expert care in the dressing and bandaging of wounds.
Studies conducted on the effects of silver sulphadiazine - commonly used to treat burns since the 1960s - suggest the chemical may be toxic to skin cells, notes ScienceDaily. These studies also indicate that silver sulphadiazine slows the healing process. Alternative dressings such as artificial skins, gels and films containing hydrocolloid and biosynthetic materials are believed to help wounds heal faster - without harming skin cells.
Since burn treatments vary, patients should carefully follow physician instructions in caring for burns. Patients can use over-the-counter burn creams to relieve pain, but are advised to dress and bandage wounds regularly until the burns heal.