Scar Prevention for Fire Dancers

I was discussing scar care and prevention for burn scars on a women’s mailing and thought this would be useful for the fire dancing world too, so I present you with GlitterGirl’s experiences on Scar Prevention for Fire Dancers (from burns, naturally).Please note: this article is not intended to superceed, replace or in any way invalidate actual medical professionals treatment.

First off, the best scar prevention is burn prevention. If you don’t get burned, you won’t get scared. Remember, most burns come from the metal, not the flame itself.

Burn Scar Prevention
Photo by Don Albanico

That said, burns do happen. Here’s what I recommend as an almost 13 year fire dancer with not one visible scar from fire dancing. Also note, I’ve broken the skin a few times, but I’ve never really gotten a burn more serious (though bigger for sure) than on a stove).

Phase 1: is to clean the burn if it needs to be and as quickly as possible apply 2nd skin burn pads or a generic version of this product. I keep 2nd skin and cobain handy whenever possible to cover burns if they happen. Then I leave the pad on at least 24 hours. I do not pop any blisters that may have formed — the 2nd skin will actually usually bring the blister down without needing to pop the skin. I will then do a second application of 2nd skin depending on the wound for another 24 hours. Please note, this even worked for a 3rd degree burn. When I got branded at burning man in 2010 — a brand you can’t even really see any more– I put 2nd skin on it for 4 days, though it does need some time to breathe in there. Note: this is for first and second degree burns that do not require medical assistance. 

Cool water, not ice, is a great idea to cool the burns, and often it is highly impractical if you actually burn your hand and want to continue using your hand to spin more fire. Furthermore, you’re not always somewhere where you can get cool water easily (say, fire dancing at Burning Man or a fire festival) so 2nd skin provides a solution regardless of climate and available resources.

Phase 2: topical neosporan – with lidicain or other painkiller — this is only necessary if you are still in pain which means you’ll likely want it for 2nd and 3rd degree burns and are less likely for first degree burns. Do not apply salves to open and fresh burn wounds. This is for the healing phase after the initial treatment with the 2nd skin has passed. 

Phase 3: when the pain is gone and/or when the skin is in the healing phase and no longer wet, begin applying vitamin e. I highly recommend you skip the oil you get in a bottle and go straight to the big number IU capsules and prick the capsule with a pin. Squeeze the capsule directly on to the healing skin using the vitamin e gel inside the capsule and spread that liberally on at least 3x a day as it’s healing. I’ve met some of fire dancers who swear by lavender oil, though I’ve never used it because I get such great results. I have used aloe, though, like cold water, it’s not always available and the 2nd skin/neosporan/vitamin e combo I describe here has been so effective I didn’t need to find a solution that includes use of aloe.

I don’t have a single scar from fire dancing on my body that is visible and you can’t see my brand, so this method works well for my body and skin. YMMV. Good luck and stay safe!

If you’re ready for private instruction, want to try Zero to Fire in 4 Hours!, want to join our next beginner class or have other questions, contact GlitterGirl directly or subscribe to our newsletter for mailbox delivery of this and other articles written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek professional guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little at symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).

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