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Health Information Center

Skin Wound

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Skin Wound


A skin wound is damage to the surface of the skin.

Types of skin wounds include:

  • Puncture—Often caused by a sharp or pointed object that pierces through the skin. It can also affect the soft tissue beneath it.
  • Laceration—The skin is cut open, torn, or torn off. Wounds can vary in size and shape, and be deep, shallow, or leave a flap of skin.
  • Pressure injury—These wounds are caused by long periods of pressure over a bony part of the body. The hip and heel are common sites.
  • Incision—A surgical wound or intentional cut to the skin.
  • Abrasion—The skin is scraped or rubbed off. Minor abrasions affect only the top layer of skin. Deep abrasions affect deeper layers of tissue and are more likely to leave a scar.
  • Thermal—Caused by exposure to extreme hot or cold.
  • Chemical—Caused by contact with strong acids or bases, such as those found in cleaning products, pool chemicals, or drain cleaners.
Pressure Injury.

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There are many different causes of skin wounds. Some common causes are:

  • Injury, such as a fall, blow, temperature extreme, or chemical exposure
  • Animal, insect, or human bite
  • Long periods of time spent in one position

Risk Factors

There are different risk factors for each type of skin wound. Some examples are:

  • Being in an accident
  • Handling sharp objects can raise the risk of punctures, incisions, or lacerations
  • Being confined to a bed or wheelchair can raise the risk of pressure sores
  • Jobs or activities that involve risky behavior
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health problems


The main symptom is damage to the skin. A person may also have bleeding and pain.


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. The wound will be examined. This is enough to make the diagnosis.


The goal of treatment is to repair the skin. How this is done will depend on the type of wound and how severe it is. Options are:


Skin wounds are often due to accidents. These are hard to prevent. To lower the risk:

  • Be careful when handling sharp objects
  • Do not walk barefoot
  • Follow product instructions when using strong chemicals




  • Laceration management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/laceration-management.
  • Lacerations. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/lacerations-and-abrasions/lacerations.
  • Mammalian bite. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/mammalian-bite.
  • Pressure injury of the skin and soft tissue. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/pressure-injury-of-the-skin-and-soft-tissue.
  • Pressure ulcers. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/pressure-ulcers/pressure-ulcers.


  • Mary-Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.