Wellbeing and Your Skin Tear

Why is my wellbeing important in skin tear healing?

The physical and emotional impact of living with a skin tear can be complex. The concept of wellbeing is unique to each individual and will change over time. Your wellbeing can be affected by the type of skin tear , the location of the skin tear, the treatment style, healing time, as well as your social and environmental factors.[1]

Taking care of your overall wellbeing can improve your skin tear healing process, manage symptoms such as pain and infection, preserve mobility of the affected region, and prevent further skin tears.

Your overall wellbeing can be separated into several categories:

• Physical wellbeing: the ability to function independently in activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and moving around.[2]

• Mental wellbeing: being free from fear, anxiety, stress, depression, or negative feelings.[3]

• Social wellbeing: the ability to participate in and engage with family, society, friends, and workers.[4]

• Spiritual wellbeing: the ability to experience the meaning and purpose of life through connections with oneself and others.[5]

What is a skin tear?

A skin tear is a wound that occurs when fragile skin experiences trauma. It is defined as the partial or full separation of the skin’s layers.

Skin tears are caused by:

• Friction
• Shearing
• Blunt force

Wellbeing and Your Skin Tear

Why isn’t my skin tear healing?

Skin tears are considered acute, or ‘uncomplicated’ wounds, that generally heal within the normal wound healing timeframe (approx. 4 weeks). However, some factors may prolong your skin tear recovery.

skin tears

Effective skin tear healing requires:

• Preserving the skin flap (if viable)
• Avoid disturbing the wound bed
• Avoid strong adhesives (e.g. steri-strips)
• Effective fluid management
• Good nutrition
• Good hydration
• Adequate rest

Skin tear recovery and wellbeing self-management

1. Seek medical support for skin tear management. Medical advice can help to ensure that you do not engage in behaviours or treatments that can worsen your wound.

2. Follow advice and instructions. The advice is intended to help you and how closely you follow it may affect the success of your skin tear treatment.

3. Keep family and friends in the loop. Having an informed support network means you can get the type of help you need when you need it.

4. Keep a record. Track your skin tear’s healing progress, how you’re feeling, and your general health.

5. Take preventative steps. Follow guidance on how to prevent skin tears in the future. This includes regularly using emollients, padding sharp furniture, and good nutrition.

Good skin tear coping strategies

Problem-solving Planning and taking control of your care
Information seeking Reading and asking others for advice
Self-comforting Emotional self-regulation and self-encouragement
Support-seeking Seeking social contact and emotional support
Seeking social contact and emotional support Distraction and acceptance
Negotiation Compromising[6]
  1. International consensus. Optimising wellbeing in people living with a wound. An expert working group review. London: Wounds International, 2012. P.1
  2. Ibid: 2
  3. Ibid: 2
  4. Ibid: 2
  5. Ibid: 2
  6. Cartwright, Matthew, et al., Living with Chronic Wounds: An Exploration of Adaptive and Maladaptive Coping Strategies and their Association with Wellbeing. Wounds International 2021 (12,1): 13