Preventing, assessing and treating skin tears
Intended for healthcare professionals

Preventing, assessing and treating skin tears

Samantha Holloway Reader, centre for medical education, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales
Jenny Prentice Nurse consultant, wound skin ostomy service, Hall & Prior Health & Aged Care Group, and director, Trojan Health, Perth, Australia
Ray Samuriwo Associate professor adult nursing, professional lead adult nursing and director of postgraduate research, School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, Faculty of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To increase your awareness of the pathophysiology of, and risk factors for, skin tears

  • To enhance your knowledge of the initial treatment and ongoing management of skin tears

  • To contribute towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Skin tears are acute wounds caused by mechanical forces resulting in the separation of the skin’s outer layers. Skin tears are more likely to occur in vulnerable people such as older people and people with neurodegenerative conditions. Rising life expectancy means that the number of patients with skin tears is expected to increase. This article describes the characteristics of skin tears, details the risk factors for skin tears and explains the importance of using a holistic, evidence-based and person-centred approach to skin tear prevention, assessment and treatment. The article outlines the crucial role of nurses as part of the multidisciplinary team in the management of skin tears.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e12127

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Holloway S, Prentice J, Samuriwo R (2023) Preventing, assessing and treating skin tears. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e12127


The authors would like to thank Julia Bresnai-Harris, lead skin cancer nurse, Musgrove Park Hospital, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust for her contribution to the writing of this article

Published online: 04 September 2023

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