Cuts and abrasions
- General Information
- See your pharmacist or medical professional
- Treatment Tips
- Treatment Options
- More Information
Most cuts and abrasions (also called grazes) can be treated simply. Skin abrasions and blisters usually result from rubbing, friction, shear and force, causing trauma to the skin.
- if there is a lot of bleeding
- if the cut or abrasion is very extensive, deep or dirty
- if there is anything deeply embedded in the cut that cannot be removed easily
- if the affected area is very painful and/or warm
- if the affected area is very red and angry-looking, or there is pus
- if the person has a fever or flu-like symptoms
- if it is a bleeding mole
- if the person has an allergy to wound care products, such as iodine
- if the person is not up to date with tetanus vaccinations
- if the person is elderly or very young
- if the person has diabetes and the injury is on their foot
- check the wound for signs of infection, such as redness spreading out from the wound, or pus
- check the last time you had a tetanus vaccination – you may need a vaccination or booster
- before applying a dressing, make sure the cut or abrasion is clean
- do not put irritating agents on the wound; use only simple cleansing agents and dressings
- avoid antiseptics on large, open wounds as they can be absorbed into the body through broken skin
- antiseptics should be correctly diluted, because high concentrations can damage skin tissue, and prolonged use delays healing (see manufacturer’s instructions)
- be careful when using an antiseptic cream; it is best not to use these under a dressing as the skin can get too wet and delay healing, and can also create an environment in which certain bacteria can grow
- do not pick at scabs as the wound heals; this can cause scarring
- scab formation can be reduced by dressings that keep the area moist, such as film dressings
if the skin is reddened but unbroken, apply a dressing strip or a dry non-stick wound pad dressing to protect the area
if the skin is broken, clean it with a mild antiseptic or weak salt solution, such as normal saline, before covering with a sterile dressing strip or dry non-stick wound pad
Cuts and grazes
if cuts and abrasions are superficial and not extensive, clean with a weak salt solution or warm water
small, shallow cuts heal faster if the edges are held together with a wound closure strip
cover minor cuts and abrasions with a sterile dressing strip or dry non-stick wound pad to protect the area
cover deeper cuts or more extensive abrasions with island or film dressings
Dressing strips (plasters)
e.g. Nexcare, Band-Aid, Elastoplast
available in waterproof versions
Wound closure strips
e.g. Leuko Tapes, Steri-Strips
wound closures keep wound edges together to help healing and reduce scarring
the strips are hypoallergenic
Dry non-stick wound pads
e.g. Cutilin, Melolin, Telfa
dry, non-stick pads absorb any fluid without sticking to the wound
these pads need to be taped on, e.g. with Micropore Adhesive Plaster
e.g. Cutifilm Plus, Cutiplast Steril, Primapore, Tegaderm Transarent Island
island dressings are self-adhesive with non-stick wound pads to absorb fluid
these dressings are available in waterproof versions
e.g. Cutifilm, OpSite Flexigrid, Tegaderm
the clear film enables moist wound healing to be monitored
the dressings are available in waterproof versions
they are not suitable for very moist wounds
take care that the skin is not damaged when removing film dressings. See the pharmacist for a demonstration
Dressings impregnated with honey
e.g. ApiNate Dressing
honey has antibacterial properties and may assist healing
no increases in blood sugar levels have been reported with this dressing, but people with diabetes should monitor their levels
Antiseptics for cleansing
e.g. chlorhexidine + cetrimide (Savlon Antiseptic Liquid), povidone iodine (Betadine Antiseptic Liquid)
use to clean the area if required
some products must be diluted before use
don’t leave Betadine Antiseptic Liquid on the wound; rinse it off after a few minutes
Antiseptic creams, ointments, powders and sprays
e.g. chlorhexidine (Bepanthen First Aid Antiseptic Cream), chlorhexidine + cetrimide (Savlon Antiseptic Cream, SOOV Cream), povidone iodine (Betadine Antiseptic Ointment and Spray, Savlon Antiseptic Powder), benzalkonium chloride (Bepanthen Antiseptic Cream)
for use on minor cuts and grazes to help prevent infection
SOOV Cream also contains lignocaine, a local anaesthetic, to help reduce pain
Availability of Medicines
GENERAL SALE available through pharmacies and possibly other retail outlets.
PHARMACY ONLY available for sale through pharmacies only.
PHARMACIST ONLY may only be sold by a pharmacist.
Last Reviewed: 22/07/2019
1. Therapeutic Guidelines, Melbourne. Abrasions. Published January 2019. eTG June 2019 edition.
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