Skin Tears
Pathway for Carers

A simple skin tears pathway for carers and healthcare practitioners
to assess and dress skin tears. This skin tears pathway is in line with the ISTAP Skin Tear Classification system.

Skin Tears Pathway for Carers


Assess the skin tear. If it is bleeding, gently apply pressure directly to the wound using a sterile gauze swab. If necessary, elevate the limb for a minimum of 15 minutes. If there is a considerable amount of bleeding, seek help from a qualified medical practitioner or call 999.

Cleanse the wound with water or saline. Take into consideration the severity of the skin tear, using the ISTAP classification, and act accordingly. Above all, it is important to be gentle to prevent any further trauma. 

Skin Tears Pathway for Carers

Apply an appropriately sized SilTact or similar soft silicone dressing. Ensure it covers the wound, including the edges, by approximately 2 cm.

*DO NOT use strong adhesive strips/film dressings over the wound. These methods are no longer recommended for skin tear closure as they can cause further trauma to fragile skin.


In order to remove the SilTact dressing (or another soft silicone dressing), gently lift the corner of the dressing and slowly peel away. Ensure that the dressing is removed in the same direction as the skin flap.

Useful videos:

How to apply & remove dressings

ISTAP risk assessment

5 steps skin tear management

Useful articles:

neonatal skin tears

Skin tear pathway for carers – Download this article

skin tear management

A skin tear classification tool developed by the International Skin Tear Advisory Panel

skin tears in the elderly

A guide to skin tear management best practice


Please note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the content presented, it is purely for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.