Skin tears can hurt and lead to infection.

Skin tears are among the most common forms of injury, no doubt thanks to the sheer number of causes. These tears actually occur when the skin, or dermis, begins to separate from itself, an especially painful experience that can lead to infection if the damaged area remains untreated. When it comes to proper wound care, there are a number of different options to treat skin tears. Here is a brief guide to the most frequently treatment utilized approaches and protocols for skin tears: 

Preventative measures

Often, the best way to treat skin tears is to ensure they never happen in the first place. According to Cleveland Clinic, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of skin tears. These steps include:

  • Use moisturizer on your arms and legs. Dry skin tears all that much easier.
  • To further avoid dry skin, make sure you drink enough water.
  • The foods you eat can also affect your skin. The best foods for promoting skin health include nuts, tomatoes, spinach and fatty fish.
  • Skin tears are often caused by bumping into your surroundings. Make sure your home or work has adequate light sources to avoid such accidents.

Be aware that there is no way to fully prevent skin tears. Instead, these tips should be seen as steps to include in your daily routine to simply improve your odds.

Classifying skin tears

Before you can ever properly treat any skin tear, it’s important to know how physicians classify individual skin tears. According to Lippincott Nursing Center, the Payne-Martin Skin Tear Classification System breaks down these injuries into three primary categories:

  • Category 1: This refers to tears without any tissue loss. These wounds are either linear or flap type.
  • Category 2: Here, there is at least partial tissue loss. Scant wounds have less than 25 percent epidermal loss, while moderate wounds have 25 percent or more epidermal loss.
  • Category 3: The final category involves complete tissue loss. The entire epidermal flap is gone.

When classifying skin tears, physicians must effectively analyze the wound site to ensure the proper level of treatment for the individual patient.

Treatment begins

Once you’ve classified the wound, there are a few more steps in the actual treatment protocol. These are:

  • Clean the wound: Always use saline water to flush out the actual wound. You also want to pat the surrounding area to prevent any subsequent damage.
  • Approximate skin flap: If the damaged flap of skin is actually viable, the physician will effectively put back into place. If that process ever proves too challenging, the doctor may use a moistened non-woven swab beforehand to rehydrate the skin flap.
  • Bandage the wound: When it comes to dressings, there are a few options that work with skin tears. These include petroleum-based gauze wrap and anything that’s absorbent and non-adhesive. Regardless of the actual dressing, doctors need to prevent dehydration of the wound site and the final dressing from sticking to bedding.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.