Rug or friction burns are mild skin injuries, resulting from the rubbing of bare skin against a rough surface. Rug burn treatment involves keeping the injured area clean and dry, protecting it from further irritation, and adopting simple personal care tips.
The root cause for a rug burn is friction of the bare skin against a rug, carpet or other abrasive surfaces, hence the name. It is also a common form of skin injury in road accident cases and sports related injuries. Children who are very active have a high chance of getting a friction burn. It appears like a reddish skin rash, which causes a skin burning sensation. With reference to ‘what causes a rug burn’, this form of skin injury is colloquially known as a friction burn, rope burn, or carpet burn. Rug burn treatment is done to avoid infection and ensure prompt recovery without scarring.
Rug Burn Symptoms
In a rug burn injury, the upper skin’s surface is scraped off or chafed due to friction. The affected skin turns red immediately after sustaining the friction injury, and it remains like that for the next few days. The skin tone will be darkened afterward, before complete healing is achieved. By this time, the pain intensity is reduced significantly. As a part of the healing process, the damaged skin cells are replaced by new ones, which give the normal skin color. While there is nothing to cure rug burn instantly, one can adopt certain remedies to soothe the symptoms, prevent infections and speed up the healing time.
How to Treat Rug Burns
While friction burns may be observed in the face and back, the elbows, knees, shins and other bony portions are most commonly affected. Infection being a probable risk of skin chafing, treatment for a rug burn starts with cleaning the area properly. This reduces the likeliness of infection later. Never make the mistake of applying an ice compress over the skin abrasion, because this cold treatment will exacerbate discomfort symptoms. So, how to get rid of rug burns?
- Severe cases of friction burns are accompanied with heat burn like symptoms. To give a soothing effect, cool water can be applied as a first aid tip for burns. Just run cool water over the injured area for 10 minutes or so.
- Always keep the friction burns clean and dry. Excess moisture or damp conditions promote microbial infection, which make skin abrasions more complicated. So, to avoid the same, gently wipe the injury with a clean cotton ball.
- While taking a shower or swimming, consider covering the rug burns with a gauze pad. If not protected, dab the area dry by careful wiping with a soft, absorbent cloth. Do not use a rough cloth for drying, and avoid harsh rubbing at any cost.
- For dealing with painful rug burns, applying an anesthetic cream after cleaning is effectual to combat pain symptoms. Use cream sparingly over the wound, and follow the product directions regarding cream application and usage frequency.
- As for treating the skin injury, applying aloe vera gel is a good remedy. Remove the gel from a freshly cut aloe vera leaf and apply it over the rug burns. Other than this, do not use cosmetic lotions, creams or powder over the area.
- Treating rug burns is mainly about protecting the area from further abrasion or irritation. Even our skin surface and cloth fabric can produce friction, thereby worsening the pain symptoms. So, don’t wear tight clothing if it irritates the friction burns.
- In case, friction burns accompany a severe fall injury or accidental injury, taking a specific dose of prescription pain relieving medication is suggested. If required, the doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medication too.
As compared to actual heat burns, friction or rug burns are less serious and they often heal on their own within a week. Though they seldom cause complications, rug burn infection does occur in some cases. While microbial attack occurs in any open wound, infection to rug burns is partly because of improper cleaning that leaves behind dirt and debris in the injured area. Signs of rug burn infection are increased redness, pus formation, swelling, warm feeling and running high temperature. If these symptoms are suspected, visit the doctor as soon as possible.