Skin tears are traumatic wounds that are caused by blunt force, friction, and shearing. A skin tear is defined as the partial or full separation or peeling back of the skin’s layers. They are one of the most common skin complications in older people.
Although they resemble large cuts and scrapes, there is usually a remaining skin flap that must be preserved if possible. They can also vary in severity from patient to patient:
• A partial thickness skin tear is when the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) separates from the deeper layer of the skin (the dermis). Partial thickness tears are considered acute or ‘uncomplicated’ wounds, meaning that they will generally heal within the expected rate of the normal wound healing process (approx. 4 weeks). 
• A full thickness skin tear is when the top and deeper layers of skin separate from the underlying tissue (hypodermis). They are typically more complex or ‘complicated’ and may require more than 4 weeks to heal.
They can occur anywhere on the body where there is particularly fragile skin, which is why they are most frequently seen on the arms, hands, and legs.