A friction burn is really a form of an abrasion that is caused by friction when a person’s skin rubs against a surface. It can also be referred to as “carpet burn” or “chafing.” Because friction generates heat, extreme cases of friction burns may result in a genuine burn of the outer layers of skin.
Following friction or an abrasion, the dermal papillae may be exposed after the top layers of the dermis have been removed. This condition is frequently uncomfortable and may even be painful. This situation rarely results in bleeding.
A person’s own skin, or the skin of another person, may be sufficient to act as an abrasive surface to cause friction burn. Other abrasive surfaces including clothing, textiles, carpet, polished floors, and furniture can inflict friction burns and abrasions. The biggest risk in assessing friction burns is misdiagnosis. Some fungal infections are misdiagnosed as friction burns or abrasions. When an individual is taken to a doctor for a friction burn, the treatments usually involve the application of an anti-inflammatory cream like cortisol. A pain relieving medication can also be taken for pain associated with the burns.
An underlying factor behind abdominal chafing may be obesity. Weight loss may be recommended as a preventative measure.
Like all burns, one of the greatest risks is from an infection due to the injury. It is important that large abrasions be treated by a doctor and that small ones are monitored for any signs of infection.