How to cure friction burn, rug burn or carpet burn and what NOT to do

How to cure friction burn

Outlines the cause of friction burns (or carpet, clothing burns), how to cure friction burn and how to tell if its really an STI or STD.

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How do friction burn, carpet burn and rug burn occur?

Friction burns are caused when the skin rubs on abrasive surfaces and can leave a sore, red and often itchy wound. Small children who start running and fall down again and again usually end with these bruises. Adults can also experience friction burns if they have a fall on carpet or a rug — hence the wounds often being called rug burns or carpet burns. Professional ballet dancers and contemporary dancers also experience the problem with friction on the dance surface known as Tarket, and any dancer knows what ‘tarket burn’ is.

Often, friction with clothing can also lead to friction burns. Common places where this can occur are between the thighs and under the armpits. Friction burns are very common in clothing such as trousers on the knees caused by sports or slipping on wooden surfaces.

Indeed, it is even possible to suffer friction burns from having sex. A person’s own skin (or another person’s skin) may be sufficient to act as an abrasive surface and cause frictional burns. Sometimes, if the friction burn is in the genital area, the sufferer may worry that it is a symptom of an STD. We will address how to tell the difference later in this guide on how to cure friction burn.

If the burn is not treated or ismistreated, this can lead to infection. To eliminate it, it must be treated as carefully as a first-degree burn.

How to cure friction burn, rug burn or carpet burn

  1. Clean the wound and leave it under cold running water for about 15 minutes. The cold water reduces and prevents the swelling that can occur when the blood vessels are expanded. The cold water will also help remove foreign bodies or foreign bodies and avoid infection. You can also dampen a clean cloth and fold it until it is the size of the carpet burning. Press it to the burn injury to relieve the pain symptoms.
  2. DO NOT use ice or butter as this can make the friction burn worse, causing tissue damage and adding ice burn to the friction burn.
  3. Dry the wound gently with a soft, clean cloth.
  4. Apply immediately a layer of antibiotic ointment or gel to the wound to support healing.  If you do not have any antibiotic or burn cream available, try aloe vera lotion or gel, or even cut open the leaf from an all vera plant and apply the natural gel from it. You can also try an antibiotic cream like neosporine
  5. Place a non-dense bandage or gauze bandage on the wound to protect it. When you cover it, protect it from other fabrics or surfaces that could come into contact with the skin, and can make the situation worse.
  6. Take an over-the-counter painkiller if the pain is uncomfortable.

When to see a doctor about friction burn

Within three to six days, your burn should disappear if it is not serious and it is properly cared for. However, if it does not start to improve by day 3, you should consult a doctor.

Large burns or those located in sensitive areas such as face, hands or feet should be treated by a doctor to avoid infections and other complications. A rule of thumb is that If your friction burn is larger than a handprint or on your face, hands or other sensitive parts of your body, you should seek medical treatment to prevent infection.

Seek medical treatment for a serious friction burn or carpet burn, or one that affects more than one layer of the skin. These are more susceptible to infections than smaller ones. 

You should also seek medical treatment if you have an immunodeficiency. 

Even if your small friction burn heals on its own, you should consult a doctor if you notice that the burn injury is leaking or you notice an increase in pain over time. These are signs of infection.

How to tell the difference between friction burn and STI/STDs

A friction burn is not uncommon on the penis and can sometimes also occur on the vagina, but it is natural that any signs raise a concern as to whether it might indicate a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or sexually transmitted disease (STD). Therefore, it is wise to evaluate the symptoms as early as possible so you know which treatment path to follow.

If the redness and inflammation or wound is on the penis, it is most likely to be friction burn on shaft, unless you also have any of the symptoms in the list below. If just the tip of the penis is inflamed and in pain, it’s more likely that you have balanitis, which can also be caused by rubbing. Balanitis can also cause itchiness, a slight irritation discharge or tightening of the foreskin. Be aware that balanitis can also be caused by a yeast infection.

However, while pain, redness and an itch can also be symptoms of an STI/STD, they will also cause at least one or more of the symptoms below. If you do not have any of these, it is more likely to be friction burn or balanitis. If you DO have any of the symptoms below, you should immediately consult a doctor or clinic for treatment.

  • white, yellow, green, or watery discharge from your penis
  • pain or burning when you urinate or ejaculate
  • painful or swollen testicles
  • itching or irritation inside your penis
  • sores on your penis, rectum, or mouth