Abrasions occur frequently, often as a result of falls or the skin coming into contact with rough surfaces. Some of the most common causes include bicycle accidents and accidents related to other outdoor activities, especially among children. Abrasions are common and can be painful, but they tend to leave a graze on the area of the body where the impact has happened, not to be very severe and are simple to treat. 

What is an abrasion?

Abrasions are a type of surface wound that are characterised by damage to the skin. They typically affect the epidermis - the outer layer of the skin. They do not usually reach the underlying dermis - the deeper layer of the skin.

Thin-skinned, bony areas such as ankles, elbows or your knees, are more prone to abrasions than thicker, more padded areas. The scraped skin of an abrasion can contain particles of dirt which could lead to infection if you are not taking the necessary steps for skin abrasion care.
Cross section of a shallow abrasion
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How to treat abrasions


    A clean abrasion wound is the first step to an optimal healing process. After stopping the bleeding, cleanse the abrasion from dirt, bacteria and visible particles, using the Elastoplast Wound Spray in order to prevent infections. Learn more about wound cleansing.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Spray

    The second step is to protect your abrasion from dirt and bacteria, in order to reduce the risk of infection. Gently dry the surrounding skin and cover the abrasion with a plaster or sterile wound dressing or sterile gauze pad. Elastoplast Knee and Elbow Plasters specialise in protecting areas where abrasion injuries are likely to occur.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Water Resistant 40 strips

    The third step involves helping your abrasion to heal safely, quickly and with a reduced risk of scarring. Apply the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment regularly until the abrasion has healed completely. Learn more about wound healing.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment 20g
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How long do abrasions take to heal?

The healing time for abrasions will vary depending on their size and severity. In general, an abrasion will take several days to heal. It is important to follow a proper wound care routine in order to facilitate faster healing. This helps prevent complications, such as infections, and reduces the risk of scarring. Read more about wound healing here.
Parent applying plaster to child's leg.
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Infected abrasions

To prevent infection, always make sure you take quick action by cleansing and protecting your wound as soon as a skin abrasion has occurred. Symptoms of infected skin abrasions:

  • The wound is not healing after substantial time has passed
  • The wound worsens despite following the optimal care guide
  • Level of pain you are experiencing is becoming worse
  • The abrasion or the surrounding area remains  warm, swollen or red
  • You may experience a sudden fever
  • Pus, drainage or other discharge coming from the abrasion

If you believe that your wound may have become infected, or if the wound seems to heal particularly slowly, you should consult a doctor. Find out more on infected wounds here.

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Abrasions and children

Abrasions are very common injuries. They can range from mild to severe. Abrasions are most likely to occur on the:

  • elbows
  • knees
  • shins
  • ankles
  • upper extremities


Young boys with helmets sitting on skateboards
Abrasions can be painful, since they sometimes expose many of the skin’s nerve endings. However, they don’t typically cause much bleeding. Most abrasions can be treated at home.

Abrasions are most common among younger children who spend a lot of time playing outside. The best way to prevent scraped knees and elbows among children is to always use proper knee and elbow pads during skateboarding or other outdoor activities with a high risk of falling.

Bicycle falls are one of the most common causes of scrapes and wounds, but you can reduce the risk by teaching your child safe riding practices. It’s also important to warn children that accidents may happen, to comfort them if they fall off their bike and encourage them to get back on the bike as soon as possible! Use Elastoplast’s MARVEL or Disney FROZEN plasters with fun designs to put a smile back on your child's face.
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Always see a doctor if the abrasion or incised wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or a burning sensation. Although compiled with great care, please note that the tips and advice given on this website are by no means a substitute for medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect that you have a health problem, consult a doctor and follow his or her medical advice, regardless of what you have learned on this website. Always read and follow carefully both the instructions for use, and the leaflets that come with our products, before treating grazes and scrapes.

For further information about our products, please contact us via email at consumer.relations.uk@beiersdorf.com