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How to Prevent Road Rash from Scarring


Falling off of and sliding from a motorcycle or bicycle is the most common way to develop road rash, though a tumble from a skateboard or scooter could also cause it to ensue. The condition is a burn caused by friction upon contact with the pavement. As you slide, the asphalt or concrete rubs against your skin and creates friction, which can lead to injury as simple as a scab or deep enough to require surgery.


Treatment Varies Depending on Severity

There are three degrees of road rash. The deepest form of road rash is third degree, in which the skin is abraded away and the fat under it is exposed. If your road rash is this severe, you are likely at risk of infection and should seek medical treatment immediately. You may require oral or IV antibiotics. Second-degree road rash occurs when the skin is broken. This is a wound that will need treatment with cleaning, a topical antibiotic ointment, and bandaging, but it should heal with proper care and rest. When applying an antibiotic ointment, remember that topicals may contain ingredients that can cause dermatitis. This inflammation can slow the healing process and cause greater scarring than if the wound had simply been bandaged. To be safe, speak with your doctor about the best course of treatment for your second-degree road rash. Finally, first-degree road rash occurs when the skin is not broken, but is reddened and sore. First-degree road rash should be thoroughly cleaned but will likely heal on its own.


Combo Medications Can Be Problematic

Once the skin is broken, you have exposed more delicate tissues to air and moisture. Your skin may be more likely to react to a topical than before the accident. Triple-antibiotics contains multiple healing agents, including pain relievers. If you find that an injury treated with triple-antibiotics reddens or starts to itch around the periphery of the injury, keep an eye on it and clean it up if the redness persists. If the symptoms do not cease, reach out to your doctor. An allergic reaction to any of the products in your triple-antibiotic may extend healing time and increase your risk of scarring.


In Severe Cases, Reconstructive Surgery May Be Necessary

Once the skin has been burned away and the fatty layer beneath it is exposed, road rash becomes debilitating. The patient may need a skin graft to replace large patches of skin that have been severely damaged or removed. This donor skin is generally taken from another body part on the same person. Thus, the road rash victim now has two wounds that will require time to heal.

To avoid road rash, the first step is to be extremely aware of your surroundings. Secondly, motorcyclists should consider wearing pants, gloves, and a helmet. Remember, you only have to slide for a few seconds to shred a pair of jeans. What will that do to the mere skin on your legs? Taking the aforementioned steps will help to ensure that you can properly deal with road rash in order heal more efficiently and minimize the risk of scarring.


Sometimes accidents cause damage to our faces. Call (859-667-4865) or email admin@amitpatelmd.com to schedule a consult today!

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