Injuries to skin may vary in some forms of wounds—cuts, puncture wounds, lacerations, incisions, and abrasions. These different kinds of wound cause different effects to the skin and body parts and hence, may require different treatments. Among various types of wounds, abrasion is often minor and most frequent. Almost all children—and adults, too, have ever experienced abrasive wounds.
Characteristic of abrasions
Abrasions are not commonly fatal. In most cases, abrasions do not cause severe bleeding and can be healed at home. Abrasions usually affect only the superficial layer of the skin and thus, are less severe than lacerations. However, more severe abrasions might damage the subcutaneous tissues and is called an avulsion. Main characteristics of abrasions include:
- Abrasions—other than the avulsion are relatively shallow and is signed by reddish color where the skin is scraped off.
- Abrasions may cause hot and burning sensation around the wound site.
- Abrasions—despite the amount of scrapes it causes, do not usually bleed. Those wounds do ooze certain fluids on its surface, yet rarely bleed severely.
- An abrasion is mostly shallow, yet some people experience itchy abrasions.
Why does abrasion occur?
Abrasions are wounds which affect the surface of the skin. Most of the time, abrasions affect the epidermis, although the dermis may also be exposed. Abrasion occurs when the surface of the skin comes in contact with a rough surface. The surface rubs the skin raw, exposing the inner layer of the skin. This type of wounds usually are the results of common daily injuries, such as:
- Accidents, which cause someone to slip or slides, giving the skin contact with any rough surfaces, such as the road and rocks. In some accident cases, abrasions might be more severe and occur as avulsion.
- Rough sports, which may give someone an abrasion when the skin comes in contact with rough grounds, such as in football or baseball.
- Scratching, which is caused by insect bites or allergies. People tend to scratch their skin as the reaction for insect bites or allergies. Severe itching triggers someone to scratch the skin even more frequently and harshly, causing the outer layer of the skin to tear. Hence, abrasions which are caused by scratching are not uncommon.
Abrasions may affect the skin in various body parts, although the knees, elbows, and hands are the most common location for an abrasion. An abrasion often exposes the inner layer of the skin—the dermis and some sensitive nerve endings. This is the cause of tickling pain which accompanies an abrasion. There are some other terms for describing abrasions, including scrapes, rug burns, road rashes, or strawberries. A large abrasion can look and act like a burn, which is painful and triggers tingling pains. Any bleeding found in abrasions is caused by broken capillaries, which is usually not very harmful.
Caring for abrasions
Abrasions are caused by a contact between the skin and a rough surface. Hence, minor damages to the skin often occurs. The surfaces causing the wounds might also contain some bacteria, which can be transferred into the wound. Hence, abrasions need to be cleaned immediately, before the bacteria infect the wound site and lead to infection. Caring for abrasions is similar with caring for some other types of wound. Keeping it clean is crucial, while healing it is not less important. If you are experiencing abrasions, below are some basic actions you need to take immediately:
- Rinse the wound using tap water and mild soap. Do not scrub the wound, instead rub it gently. Pat the abrasion dry using a paper towel or a clean towel. You can also use saline solution to rinse the wound, as the solution is a natural anti-bacterial agent.
- Clean any debris and dirt which are left in the wound site.
- Apply some antibiotic ointment onto the affected area. This will help killing any bacteria transferred from the surfaces having contact with the surface of the skin.
- Bandage the wound using a cotton gauze and keep the bandage clean and dry.
- Do not scratch it even though itchiness occurs. When scabs occur, avoid picking it to prevent the wound from re-bleeding.