Skin Wound



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:

Self Care

Minor wounds can be treated with self care, such as:

  • Cleaning debris from the wound and washing it with warm soap and water
  • Applying pressure with a clean towel to stop bleeding
  • Covering the wound with a sterile bandage and keeping it clean and dry

Skin Closure Strips

Skin closure strips are adhesive strips that can be used to bring the edges of a minor wound together. This will help the wound heal and keep it clean. They may be used for wounds that are clean, have straight edges that line up well, and are easy to push closed.

Skin Glue

Skin glue is used to hold a wound together and let it heal. It is most often used on the face, arms, legs, and torso.


Sutures are used for deep, bleeding wounds that may have jagged edges that are hard to close. Stitches may be needed under the skin before the wound can be closed. These stitches will be absorbed by the body. The stitches on the surface of the skin will need to be removed after the area has healed.


Staples are best for wounds on the scalp, neck, arms, legs, torso, and buttocks. The wound edges are closed and lined up. The staples are placed along the wound.

Hair Tying

Hair tying may be used for scalp lacerations. Hair is gathered in a way that pulls the wound shut. The hair is then held together with a rubber band or skin glue while the wound heals.

Skin Grafts

Skin grafts may be used when the skin around the wound is too damaged to heal together. This may happen with pressure sores or after skin has been removed in surgery. Skin grafts take healthy skin from another part of the body. This healthy skin is then placed over the wound.


Medicine may be given to lower the risk of infection. Depending on the type of wound, a tetanus or rabies vaccine may also be given.

Pain medicine may also be given.


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

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.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.