Friction Burns And What They Are

Friction Burns – What They Are and How to Treat Them

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We’re all familiar with minor burns that are often incurred in the kitchen, caused by hot objects or liquids. These types of burns are the most common and are referred to as thermal burns. However, there are a few other types of burns as well that are not caused directly by heat. One such type of burn is friction burns.

If you’ve ever accidentally scraped your arm or a leg hard against a rough surface then you are familiar with what a friction burn feels like. These burns are often dismissed as they are minor injuries. 

They are caused due to intense friction against the skin, the friction generates heat which can damage the skin tissue. Friction burns might also be referred to as skinning or chafing.

Friction burns on the skin are commonly caused due to friction from ropes, clothing or carpets. They usually affect the skin on the knees, elbows or thighs. They can also form easily on sensitive skin, such as around the genital area.

Friction burn treatment

Minor friction burns on skin do not require treatment and will heal by themselves. You can apply powder to the skin to prevent further chafing. However, for burns where the skin has peeled off, follow a proper wound care procedure to clean and cover the wound. Do not apply powder on an open wound.

Follow these steps for friction burn treatment:



Rinse the area with cool water


Pat dry with a soft cloth, do not rub the burn


Apply a soothing ointment such as aloe vera gel


Cover the area up loosely with a wound plaster

Friction burns may get infected if the wound is left open, so make sure to treat them in the correct manner, according to the severity of the burn.

These kinds of minor injuries cannot always be avoided, knowing how to treat them can help you when you’re in a pinch.