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What are common complications of chemical burns?

Chemical burns can happen in a variety of situations, from accidental exposure to common household chemicals to accidents in nail and hair salons.

While the severity of a chemical burn can depend on the type of the chemical involved, the amount of exposure someone suffers and whether the chemical was a liquid or gas, the consequences can be extreme. Some common complications include the following.

Tissue necrosis

Chemical burns can lead to tissue necrosis, where the affected skin and underlying bodily tissue may die. This can result in the need for painful surgical intervention, such as debridement (removal of dead tissue) and reconstructive work.

Scarring, disfigurement and amputations

Severe chemical burns often result in significant scarring, which can lead to permanent disfigurement – despite advances in modern medicine and plastic surgery. This can have lasting psychological and emotional impacts on the affected individual, especially when the scars are highly visible or affected body parts (such as fingers) need to be amputated.


Open wounds caused by chemical burns are susceptible to infections. The compromised skin barrier makes it easier for bacteria to enter, increasing the risk of localized or systemic infections. Sepsis, which is a catastrophic response to infection, is also a real possibility.

Respiratory issues

The inhalation of chemical fumes or particles during a chemical incident can lead to respiratory complications, affecting the victim’s lungs and airways. Permanent damage is not unlikely, and that could lead to dependence on oxygen for the rest of the victim’s life.

Internal damage

Some chemicals can have long-term health consequences for victims, including damage to their internal organs, disruption of their nervous system or an increased risk of certain diseases.

Psychological distress

Survivors of chemical burns may experience psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can affect their overall quality of life and ability to function in the future.

If you have suffered chemical burns or a loved one was seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to bear the financial losses related to your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Find out more about your legal options and rights under the law by seeking guidance as soon as you can.