Also known as: scrape, rub, skinned.

What is an abrasion?

An abrasion is the medical term for a minor superficial scrape of the skin. Examples include a skinned elbow, a rash from rubbing the skin against a rough surface like tarmac, gravel, or a coarse rug. They may be small or large and have a variety of shapes.

What causes abrasion?

Coming in contact with any rough surface can result in the top layers of the skin being damaged and peeling off. They can be a feature from falling while playing with other children, accidents, injury, or from a fall related to sports participation.

What are the symptoms of abrasion?

An abrasion often causes a red patch on the skin, which may ooze fluid and may be painful or bleed. An abrasion may scab over as it heals, which usually takes 3-7 days, but may take longer.

What are abrasion care options?

Abrasions should be cleaned thoroughly yet gently using soap and cool water, specifically well if dirt, stones, or gravel need to be removed, as a dirty abrasion may become infected or scar on healing. Daily application of an antibiotic ointment/lotion or cream on/or covered by an adhesive bandage or gauze, particularly if on the hands or feet or likely to become contaminated by clothing is beneficial.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: August 31, 2021 03:44 PM

Children's Dermatology

The Division of Dermatology at Nicklaus Children's Hospital focuses on the latest medications and technology available for the specialized treatment of all skin diseases and disorders affecting children of all ages.

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