[Skip to Navigation]
September 1958

Changes in the Skin as a Result of Electric Current

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

From the Medical Service, Veterans' Administration Center, General Medical and Surgical Hospital, and the Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of California Medical Center.

AMA Arch Derm. 1958;78(3):386-390. doi:10.1001/archderm.1958.01560090102020

An electric current passing through the skin produces changes which may be due to the electric current alone. More frequently, however, they are due to a combination of electric current and heat.

Electric burns occur at the point of entrance and exit of the current. This is explained by the fact that the skin offers the greatest resistance to passage of the electric current and thereby causes the generation of heat. Jaffél stated that, owing to this resistance, the most evident changes produced are in the skin.

An electric burn may first appear as a pale crusted superficial ulcer. It may be a pointed or linear elevation of the epidermis, white or gray-yellow in color. The middle of this elevation has linear indentations. At its base and borders the coloration is mostly grayishblack and at times even ruddy. The involved skin feels hard and firm.

Add or change institution