How to Avoid Scars From Brush Burns

Brush burns — sometimes referred to as rug burn, scrapes or skinned knees — are minor lacerations or abrasions that occur due to friction between your skin and another surface, such as carpet or pavement. Brush burns are common in children and can also occur when falling on a rough surface. This can be painful and cause small amounts of bleeding. Though this is a minor injury, without proper treatment it can lead to infections or scarring. Fortunately, you can take several actions to prevent scarring.

A father puts a bandaid on his son's scraped knee. (Image: Feverpitched/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash your hands with soap and water prior to dealing with any skin abrasion, including brush burns. Dirty hands can cause bacteria and dirt to enter your broken skin. Infection can increase your chances of developing scarring.

Step 2

Clean the brush burn with warm, soapy water. Gently clean the area using your fingertips. To prevent irritation, avoid rubbing hard or using a washcloth.

Step 3

Pat the area dry with a clean washcloth.

Step 4

Apply a thin layer of antiseptic or antibiotic cream, using a clean finger. This can help prevent infection.

Step 5

Use a bandage to help cover the burn and keep it clean. Remember to keep your bandage clean and dry at all times. Change the bandage in the evening and after taking a shower or bath.

Step 6

Allow the brush burn to air out once a scab has begun to form. Leave the scab alone. To prevent scarring, allow the scab to fall off on its own.

Step 7

Use an over-the-counter scar minimizer cream or a few drops of vitamin E oil on the brush burn twice a day once the scab has fallen off. This can help moisturize the skin and reduce any leftover marks.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap

  • Antibiotic or antiseptic cream

  • Bandages

  • Over-the-counter scar minimizer

  • Vitamin E oil


Avoid picking on the scab of a brush burn to help prevent scarring.

No matter how minor the brush burn, always treat it to help minimize scarring and prevent infection.


If your brush burn appears infectious, consult a physician. The characteristics of infection are extreme redness, pain, warmth, swelling, pus or drainage.

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