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Skin Tears

What is a skin tear?

A skin tear is a wound that can be caused by friction or trauma that is often slow to heal because of pre-existing conditions. Some skin tears are unavoidable but many are considered preventable.

Who is at risk?

  • Newborns and the elderly
  • Critically ill people
  • People with nerve damage
  • Those that require assistance with personal care
  • Those that take medications that make the skin thin - like steroids

What are the main of causes skin tears?

  • Assistive equipment like wheelchairs or bed rails
  • Bumping your skin or an object
  • Falls
  • Dressing/tape removal
  • Moving a person from one location to another

What can you do?

Skin should be monitored and cared for on a daily basis. Some things to consider:

  • Create a safe environment - consider lighting, sharp edges and unnecessary furniture.
  • Check your skin and be aware of any scratches or dry skin.
  • Keep your skin healthy by avoiding soap, use a pH balanced cleanser and moisturise twice a day.
  • Keep skin dry - control moisture from incontinence and other sources.
  • Make sure you are eating well and drinking enough fluids. If you are unsure ask your health care provider for advice.
  • If you are at risk protect your skin - wear long sleeves, long pants, high knee socks or bandages.
  • Use shin guards if you experience repeat skin tears to shins.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a health care professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. It is important that you contact your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns.


Your guide to wound and pressure care supports on the NDIS.


'Wellbeing with a Wound' Diary

A guide to support you in the management of your wound.

Download the diary

Wellbeing and your wound

Download the information sheet