Abrasions occur when skin is scraped from the body during an injury or accident. An abrasion can range from a rug burn, which you get from exposure of bare skin to carpet, to road rash, which occurs when skin is dragged or slid across asphalt or concrete in a bike or motorcycle accident. Abrasions tend to scar as they heal and the only way to prevent them from scarring is with proper wound care.
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Cleanse the wound daily with mild soap and lukewarm water. According to the Arizona State Campus Health Service, you should gently scrub the area with a soft washcloth to remove dirt and other particles that may make their way into the wound. Overscrubbing of the abrasion causes irritation and can worsen the injury, so use extreme care when cleansing.
Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the abrasion after the area has dried. This prevents anything from sticking to the wound and taking off more skin during dressings. Petroleum jelly also keeps the site moist, helping the skin to heal.
Examine the abrasion daily to ensure that it does not become infected. If you notice red streaks, swelling, or drainage of pus, seek medical attention immediately as this could indicate an infection known as tetanus, according to Kids Health.org.
Apply a bandage to the abrasion daily. Some abrasions are large enough to require the use of gauze and medical tape, while others can be easily covered with a sterile bandage strip. Bandages should be kept dry and changed daily to prevent infection and allow the abrasion to heal without scarring.
Resist the urge to pick or scratch. Abrasions may develop a scab as they heal and picking or scratching at the scab will only worsen the injury and increase chances of scarring. According to Kids Health.org, scabs generally fall off on their own within two weeks.