Abrasions and grazes

Grazes are part of life. We trip over or bump into things. These types of wounds are particularly common in children and athletes, who frequently fall and scrape their knees, elbows and hands. When you suffer an abrasion, the outer layer of the skin is scraped off, which can be painful and result in an increased risk of infection. Our abrasion guide provides tips on how to reduce the pain, keep the wound clean from dirt and debris, avoid infection, and ensure it heals as quickly as possible.

How to care for abrasions and grazes

Superficial abrasions do not usually bleed as much as deep wounds. But this depends to some extent on where on your body the injury occurs. In the case of an abrasion to your face or head, even a superficial wound can bleed quite a lot. Superficial abrasions can also be more painful than deep wounds as the fine nerve endings under the skin are often damaged.

Clean with soap and running water

The easiest way to clean an abrasion or graze is with mild soap and running water at body temperature. Taking a shower could also help. To make it easier to treat, it could be a good idea in some cases to first loosen the dirt and grit in the wound. You can do this by placing a damp compress over the wound for half an hour.

Reduce pain during treatment

Abrasions can be painful to treat. Therefor, it may be appropriate to apply a thin layer of numbing cream 4-5 minutes before treatment. Remember that certain products must not be used on children under 18 months.

Quick guide

  • Before treating the wound, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Rinse the wound under running tap water and clean with mild soap. Liquid mild soap is recommended if you want to reduce the pain while cleaning the wound.
  • Carefully remove any dirt or grit in the wound. Dirt could cause the wound to become infected.
  • If after a day or so the wound becomes more painful, and the skin around the wound becomes swollen, it could be infected. In this case, you should clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water a couple of times a day.

When should you seek medical advice?

If there is asphalt in the wound

It can be difficult to remove asphalt from the wound. Unfortunately, asphalt residue in wounds can also cause ugly scars. Always seek medical advice if you are uncertain or if it is difficult to clean the wound yourself.

In the case of redness, pus or a high temperature

Seek medical advice if pus forms in the wound, if it begins to exude/weep, or if the pain increases.

Webpage examined by Margareta Grauers, dermatology nurse, 29-06-2017

Recommended products

Sorbact® Secure

Protect and keep the wound clean

Showerproof plaster with a unique technology that reduces the risk of wound infection compared to a standard dressing1. Binds bacteria from the wound and facilitates wound healing.

Sorbact® Compress

For deep and superficial exuding wounds

Sorbact® Compress is a sterile wound dressing that binds bacteria and fungi. The unique Sorbact® surface binds bacteria from the wound, helping it to heal and preventing infection. Combine with an absorbent, occlusive fixation dressing.

Sorbact® Absorption

Absorbent dressing for exuding superficial wounds

Sorbact® Absorption is a sterile wound dressing that binds bacteria and fungi. The unique Sorbact® surface binds bacteria from the wound, helping it to heal and preventing infection. Combine with a fixation dressing.


1.Stanirowski PJ, Bizoń M, et al. 2016. Randomized controlled trial evaluating dialkylcarbamoyl chloride impregnated dressings for the prevention of surgical site infections in adult women undergoing cesarean section. Surg Infect (Larchmt). 17(4):427-435. link

Available in pharmacies in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland