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How to Treat a Brush Burn

By Christina Schnell ; Updated July 27, 2017

Brush burn, often referred to as rug burn, is a minor abrasion resulting from friction between your skin and another surface such as a rope, sidewalk or carpet. Brush burns are especially common among young children who are rolling and playing against rough surfaces. The burn reveals raw, sensitive skin that can be painful or sore to touch. Bleeding is minimal, and brush burn rarely calls for professional medical attention. Treating brush burn is similar to treating other types of minor burns; it requires basic hygienic care and protection.

  1. Wash your hands. Even if the brush burn is not visibly bleeding, clean hands are essential in treating or dressing any sort of abrasion or wound on the skin.

  2. Wash the brush burn. Use warm, not hot, soapy water and gently stroke away any dirt or debris. Use only your fingers. A wash cloth or sponge could further aggravate the wound.

  3. Apply a thin layer of antiseptic cream or spray on the burned skin to prevent infection. Spread the antiseptic cream with a sterile cotton swab.

  4. Cover the brush burn with an adhesive bandage. Change the bandage after bathing and before sleeping to ensure that the wound stays clean and dry.

  5. Tip

    Resist the urge to cool the brush burn by blowing on the skin. Blowing with your mouth can spread germs.


    Seek medical attention If the burnt area appears swollen or begins discharging fluid.

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