Here’s What Happens To Your Skin When You Survive Being Struck By Lightning

The odds of getting struck by lightning in any given year are about 1 in 300,000. And although roughly 90% of those struck survive, the electrical discharge scars some of them with a tattoo-like mark, known as the Lichtenberg figure. But that’s not all.


A lightning bolt can heat the surrounding air to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,760 degrees Celsius) – which is five times hotter than the sun – and can contain 300,000 – 1,000,000 volts of energy. It’s terrifying to imagine what this amount of energy could do to a human.


When it enters your body, it short-circuits the small electrical signals that run the heart, lungs, and nervous system. This can lead to cardiac arrest, seizures, brain injury, spinal cord damage, and amnesia. The blistering heat, light, and electricity can also damage your eyes. For example, it can bore holes in your retina and cause cataracts, a clouding of the lenses. Unfortunately for men, lightning can also induce impotence and decrease libido in general.


As the lightning moves toward the surface of the body, it can force red blood cells out of your capillaries, into your epidermis. Like a bruise. These scars are the earlier mentioned Lichtenberg figures. The insane temperatures can also heat up any metal you’re wearing, causing third-degree burns. Or rapidly vaporize the sweat or rain on your skin. Sometimes, this steam explosion even blows off people’s clothes or shoes, leaving them nearly naked. Scroll down to meet some of the people that survived this crazy experience!


(h/t allthatisinterestingbusinessinsider)


The odds of getting struck by lightning in any given year are about 1 in 300,000



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And although roughly 90% of those struck survive, the electrical discharge scars some of them with a tattoo-like mark


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It is known as the Lichtenberg figure



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But that’s not all



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A lightning bolt can heat the surrounding air to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,760 degrees Celsius)



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This is five times hotter than the sun



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It also can contain 300,000 – 1,000,000 volts of energy



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When this amount of energy enters your body, it short-circuits the small electrical signals that run the heart, lungs, and nervous system



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This can lead to cardiac arrest, seizures, brain injury, spinal cord damage, and amnesia



Image credits: nejm


The blistering heat, light, and electricity can also damage your eyes



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For example, it can bore holes in your retina and cause cataracts (cloudings of the lenses)



Image credits: unknown


Unfortunately for men, lightning can also induce impotence and decrease libido in general



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The Lichtenberg figures are the results of the lightning moving toward the surface of the body



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When it forces the red blood cells out of your capillaries



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A man called Winston Kemp was struck by lightning back in 2011



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Ironically, the man is an electrician



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“I went outside to save my pumpkins. After that, I was going back inside”



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“I just know it struck in our neighbor’s backyard, and it was bright and loud. I didn’t feel anything”



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“I just came back inside like nothing was wrong. Umm…my arm was sore. <…> [It was] maybe an hour before I saw the marks”



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“A few hours after it happened it really started to bother me. The next day it was bad. The blisters started forming; they were really big” They kept on growing for a week!



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Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year



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And they can also engrave fields of grass



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So golf courses can really highlight these Lichtenberg figures



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Which are named after the German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg who originally discovered and studied them



Image credits: Anna Garcia ‏