Skin Erosion: Causes and Best Treatment Methods in 2022

Erosion was derived from the Latin word ‘erosio’, which means ‘eating away. Skin erosion is one dermatological condition that is getting popular and being mistaken for other dermatological terminologies.

We have explained this diseases, its causes, treatment methods, and other important information in the sections of this article.

What is skin erosion?

Skin erosion is a secondary skin lesion that is associated with the removal of the topmost layer of the skin, the epidermis. It can be caused by trauma or skin infection.

The epidermis layer of the skin protects the inner layers from infections and mechanical and chemical damage. The cells of the epidermis are renewed every 27 days.

This disease is very shallow ulceration of the skin. Unlike skin ulcers, skin erosion only affects the epidermis, and heals without leaving scars.

Types of skin erosion

There are two types of this diseases;

●     Abrasion

Abrasion is a type of erosion that is caused by physical trauma.

For instance, you fell from a bike and scraped the skin of your knee off.

Most times, abrasions only involve the epidermis but they can affect the dermis in extreme situations.

Normally, abrasions cause minimal bleeding and heal without leaving a scar. However, if the abrasion affects the dermis, it would cause much bleeding and would leave a scar.

●     Excoriation

Excoriation is a type of erosion that is caused by mechanical actions on the skin like picking, scratching, rubbing, etc.

Similar to abrasion, excoriation affects only the epidermis in most scenarios, but in others, it might affect the papillary dermis.

Although they are both caused by mechanical activities, abrasion is mostly caused by accidents while excoriation is self-inflicted.

What can cause skin erosion?

While abrasions and excoriation are caused by mechanical activities, skin erosion could also be caused by infections.

●     Fungal infections

Naturally, there are fungi on your skin and they are harmless. However, if they multiply, or get into a cut or lesion on your skin, they would cause infections.

Fungi multiply in places that are damp and have little or no access to fresh air. Some of these areas can be seen in your feet, groin, and skin folds.

Fungi infections are often a scaly or discolored rash that is very itchy. As the bearer scratch these rashes continuously, he might scratch off the epidermis around the rash area.

The type of erosion formed is called excoriation.

●     Medication side effects

Skin erosion can also be a side effect of a medication, like a podophyllotoxin.

Podophyllotoxin is an antimitotic medication that can prevent viral warts from dividing and spreading to other areas of the body.

If the HPV infection does not produce an external wart, this medication is not to be used.

However, as podophyllotoxin works to fight viral warts, it also removes the epidermis layer of the skin in those areas, thereby causing skin erosion. This is one side effect of this medication.

●     Allergic reaction

Generally, your immune system is to defend your body against foreign substances. When your immune system fights substances it is not supposed to fight, there would be an allergic reaction.

This is how it allergic reactions happen. Something that is naturally harmless, like peanuts, are introduced into your body. You immune system sees the compounds in this peanut as a threat and releases antibodies to fight them.

These antibodies go to your cell and stimulate it to release histamines, which would fight the compounds of the peanut. While fighting, your skin might react to these fighting by producing itchy rashes, or causing it’s skin.

As you scratch your skin, you might remove to top layer of your skin, and cause sores.

Examples of skin erosion

The following are some examples ;

●     Herpes simplex

Herpes simplex is a medical condition that is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). It is associated with herpes sores in the mouth, genitals, and other parts of the body.

These sores from the herpes virus are small fluid-filled blisters. They are painful, and itching, and they cause skin erosion when they burst open.

●     Impetigo

Impetigo is a skin infection that is caused by staphylococcus bacteria. The infection is most popular in children and infants and is highly contagious.

Impetigo is characterized by sores on the face, especially around the mouth and nose area, that burst open to form honey-colored crusts.

These sores cause this disease as they remove the epidermis layer of the skin to form crusts.

●     Candida

Candidiasis of the skin is associated with red and itchy rashes on the skin. These rashes can spread from one area of the skin to another, but are mostly seen in places of skin folds.

As rashes cause the patient to itch, they can instigate a type of skin erosion called excoriation.

Other examples of skin erosion are;

  • Staph scalded skin syndrome
  • Toxic epidermal necro lysis
  • Blistering skin diseases
  • Erosive lichen palus

Treatment methods for skin erosion

Treating skin erosion depends on the cause and how deep it is.

If the injury is superficial or from minor skin trauma, they can be treated by first-aid procedures. This entails cleaning the wound and placing a bandage on it to prevent infections.

However, if the erosion went deeper than the epidermis, you should see a doctor. Nevertheless, clean the area around the wound and keep it bandaged till you reach the hospital.

If the skin erosion is caused by an infection, you should treat the infection first or seek for medications to stop the itching skin.

Also, if the erosion is a side effect of a medication, seeks for supplementing medications that might help reduce this side effect.

Differences between skin erosion and ulcer

Although skin erosion and skin ulcer are forms of skin lesions, they have some differences.

  • Skin erosion majorly affects the epidermis and close parts of the dermis (on rare occasions), while skin ulcers affect the dermis, deeper layers of the skin and the structures within these layers.
  • Skin ulcers leave scars after healing, but skin erosions do not leave scars after they are healed.
  • Skin ulcer disrupts the basement membrane of the epidermis while skin erosion only affects the superficial regions.


Skin erosion is a common form of skin lesion that is mostly superficial. There are two types of skin erosion, that can also be instigated by skin infections and some medications.

Some examples of skin erosion have been explained above. Skin erosion should be treated according to it’s cause.

Also, skin ulcers are different from skin erisuons and should be treated differently. If treated wrongly, skin ulcers can cause other complications.


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