A skin tear is an injury that occurs when a piece of skin is torn from the body. Sometimes the skin is torn off completely, while in other cases, the flap of skin remains partially attached. Skin tears can become infected if they’re not treated promptly.
Types of Skin Tears
If the edges of a skin flap can close, there is a good chance that the wound will heal. If the skin flap is damaged to the point that it can’t reach the edges of the wound, it won’t be able to heal correctly. In the most serious type of skin tear, the skin is completely ripped from the wound.
The color of the skin flap indicates whether or not it’s viable. If the skin is pink, it’s viable. A pale, blue, or purple skin flap most likely won’t be able to heal.
Who Is at Risk
Skin tears can happen to anyone, but they’re more common in people who have skin that’s dry, thin, and fragile. This includes individuals who are elderly and in poor health, people with limited mobility, those who have thin skin due to menopause or the use of certain medications, people with chronically dry skin, and infants.
How to Handle a Skin Tear
When treating a skin tear, focus on preventing infection and protecting the area around the injury. You also need to keep the damaged area moist to facilitate the healing process.
Before you begin to treat a skin tear, wash your hands and put on gloves. Apply pressure and elevate the injured area to stop the bleeding. Rinse the injured area with water or a saline solution, then carefully pat the area dry or let it air dry.
If the skin flap is still attached to the body, place it back in its correct position as much as possible. Be careful so you don’t accidentally cause more damage.
Use a dressing, such as Tegaderm, petroleum jelly gauze, or a film dressing, to cover the injury. Change the dressing if it gets dirty. When removing a dressing, pull in the same direction as the skin flap so you don’t inadvertently reopen the wound.
Be Prepared to Treat an Injury
A skin tear needs to be taken seriously and covered as soon as possible. If it gets infected, it can lead to serious complications. This is one reason why it’s important to have a first aid kit available at all times, whether you’re at home, at work, in your vehicle, or on a camping trip.
1st Aid Supplies offers first aid cabinets online that can be mounted on a wall in a house or business, as well as kits that can be stored in a vehicle or taken along when you participate in outdoor activities. They contain bandages, gauze, gloves, and other essentials. Order a first aid kit or cabinet today.