Skin tears: prevention and management

Br J Community Nurs. 2019 Sep 1;24(Sup9):S12-S18. doi: 10.12968/bjcn.2019.24.Sup9.S12.


Skin tears commonly occur at the extremes of age and are associated with skin changes in ageing skin. They are considered to be acute wounds caused by mechanical forces, such as blunt trauma. While the true prevalence and incidence of skin tears is unknown, the available evidence suggests that these wounds occur in all healthcare settings. Importantly, skin tears are preventable with the implementation of a risk-reduction programme, which includes twice-daily skin moisturisation. Where these injuries do occur, it is important to categorise the extent of damage as well as to choose the most appropriate dressing to avoid adding any risks for further trauma.

Keywords: Aged skin; Older adults; Prevention and management; Skin tear classification; Skin tears.

MeSH terms

  • Bandages*
  • Caregivers / education
  • Humans
  • Lacerations / nursing
  • Lacerations / prevention & control*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Protective Clothing
  • Skin / injuries*
  • Skin Care*