Carpet Burns Overview: Symptoms, Severity, Treatment


A carpet burn is an injury in which layers of skin are scraped off. A more correct term would be friction burn, since there is no real difference between damage caused by rubbing against a carpet or any other surface. Another name, road rash , is commonly used when the cause is a combination of asphalt and high speeds.

While a carpet burn can be called (and is essentially a form of) skin abrasion, the depth and severity of the injury requires that it be treated in the same way as other types of burns (such as thermal or electrical). …

Get Medication Information / Brianna Gilmartin

Carpet burn symptoms

A characteristic of friction burns is skin lesions over a large area. The area will be red, soggy, and may bleed or ooze. The biggest difference between a carpet burn and a road rash is how dry the injury is.

Carpet burns tend to be much drier. A road rash is more likely to cause tears. The difference may be due to the fibrous nature of carpets and rugs compared to harder gravel and asphalt surfaces. Aside from the obvious physical trauma, the biggest symptom of carpet burns is pain.


All burns damage the skin, which is made up of three layers of tissue : the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. The surface of the skin is the epidermis, a layer that is always damaged or absent from a burn.

Deeper burns can extend to the dermis, where most of the nerve endings and hair follicles are located. Deeper burns extend to the subcutaneous layer of fatty tissue below the dermis.

Friction burns represent 1% to 2% of all types of burns. Statistics on the various surfaces that cause friction burns (carpet burns, road rashes, treadmills, etc.) are not available. Anything that can peel off the layers of your skin can cause friction burns.

Carpets or rugs are the known culprits. A more recent and growing cause of friction burns is the treadmill, which can be especially dangerous for children. Fortunately, in most cases, treatment is fairly straightforward.

Severity of burns

The severity of friction burns, like all burns, is measured by a combination of the depth of the burn (the number of layers of skin affected) and the total size of the burn , measured as a percentage of the surface area. injured body. . The depth of the burn is expressed in degrees of burn:

  • First degree friction burns are superficial and only affect the epidermis. They are just as likely called skin abrasions as friction burns.
  • Second degree friction burns have completely scraped the epidermis and are now invading the dermis. This is where carpet burns cause bleeding and, in some rare cases, clear liquid.
  • Third degree friction burns are extremely rare and occur when trauma has completely removed both the epidermis and dermis, exposing the underlying subcutaneous layer or muscle. The amount of sustained force required for third degree carpet burns makes them extremely unlikely.

Burns of any kind that involve only first degree injuries are not considered serious. When looking at the area of the burn, count only the second or third degree. Some types of burns are considered more serious than others, depending on the part of the body affected. Burns to the hands, feet, face, and genitals are considered serious burns.

Different types of burns have unique characteristics and complications. For example, carpet burns can occur on the hands, feet, face, and genitals, but in the case of a facial injury, carpet burns do not have the same complications as thermal burns.

In other words, the patient is not in danger of inhaling superheated air if the carpet burns like a thermal burn.

Watch out

Carpet burns are treated in the same way as other burns:

  1. Wash the burn and scrub with warm water and mild soap. Unlike a thermal burn, a carpet burn does not need to be rinsed for several minutes to cool it down. The trauma stops getting worse as soon as the friction stops.
  2. Cover the burn with a dry bandage. You can hydrate and soothe carpet burns with a burn gel or ointment. Some patients are relieved and this will not impair healing.
  3. Over-the-counter pain medications can be used.

When to see a doctor

Any burn from the mat to the hands and feet, especially the palms or soles of the feet, that is large enough to interfere with function, should be examined by a physician. Also see your doctor in case of mat burns to the face or genitals, or burns deeper than the first degree that cover an area larger than the entire thigh.

Frequently asked questions

What to put on the burned carpet?

For first-degree friction burns, you can use an over-the-counter antibacterial ointment with a local anesthetic to relieve pain. Carpet burns expose many small nerve endings and can be particularly painful with even minor injuries. Do not use any other lotion on the burn until it heals.

How long does a carpet burn take to heal?

First degree burns heal in about a week. Second and third degree burns take longer to heal, skin grafts may be required, and depending on the severity, can cause scarring.

Get the word of drug information

Anyone who grew up with wall-to-wall carpeting and had a tendency to fight with their siblings is familiar with carpet burns. Unlike thermal burns, they do not get worse after the initial injury. Carpet burns are common injuries and are not life threatening.

In most cases, you can treat them yourself at home. The most dangerous friction burns today come from children and treadmills. Be very careful around children around the treadmill, and be sure to take every precaution so that your child does not turn on the treadmill when you are not around.

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