What is a laceration?

Lacerations are tears in the skin that result in an irregular or jagged wound and can bleed heavily. Lacerations often occur in skin areas close to the bone such as forehead, skullcap, shins, elbow joints or kneecaps.
Illustration of a laceration
Laceration

What can cause a laceration wound?

Lacerated wounds are commonly caused by blunt trauma, or an incision in the skin caused by a sharp object most commonly inflicted from objects such as knives or broken glass. Lacerated wounds are likely to occur even through everyday activities such as preparing food or cleaning around the house.

What is the difference between an abrasion and a laceration?

Lacerations differ from abrasions in that they tend to involve more severe and deeper damage to the skin. Abrasions are most often superficial surface wounds and do not typically bleed a lot, whereas lacerations, particularly deep lacerations, are more likely to do so.
Illustration of an abrasion
Abrasion
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Treatment of lacerations

Lacerations are often severe and generally require medical attention because wide and uneven breaks in the skin lead to heavy bleeding and may require stitches.

Only small, minor lacerations can be treated at home. For these wounds, follow this easy 3 step routine and heal them quickly and easily.

  1. Clean

    A clean and cleansed wound is the first step to an optimal healing. After stopping the bleeding with direct pressure and elevation, cleanse the laceration from dirt, bacteria and visible particles with the Elastoplast Wound Spray to prevent infections.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Spray
  2. Protect

    The second step is to protect the injured skin from dirt and bacteria in order to prevent infection, ensuring that the wound heals undisturbed. Gently dry the surrounding skin and cover the wound with a plaster, sterile wound dressing or compress from Elastoplast.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Water Resistant 40 strips
  3. Heal

    Help your laceration to heal safely, fast and with a lower risk of scarring by applying Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment regularly until the wound has healed completely. Apply high SPF sunscreen to the area when outdoors to further minimise scarring too.
    Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment 20g
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When do lacerations need stitches?

For some injuries, especially wide or deep lacerations, stitches or other professional wound closure may be required, such as application of skin glue. It is advisable to visit a healthcare professional if the wound bleeds for longer than seems reasonable, has particularly jagged edges, or if the skin laceration is located over a joint or somewhere such as the lips or an eyelid.

Stitches should be removed by a healthcare professional and can usually be done after several days.

When to consult a medical professional

Generally, it is recommended to consult a doctor in the case of a head injury, especially for children, to ensure the best medical treatment and cosmetic results. Always take extra care during potentially dangerous activities and use protective gear such as helmets for those that pose a risk of head injury. Other instances where it is advised to seek the help of a medical professional are:

  • There are signs of infection on a lacerated wound on the hand.
  • There is associated cellulitis over a joint.
  • There is a possible foreign body remaining in the wound after cleaning, including all injuries caused by glass.
  • The laceration is complex, widely gaping, or extensively devitalised.
  • There is a tetanus-prone wound, which includes wounds that require surgical intervention which has been delayed for more than six hours; wounds which have a significant degree of devitalised tissue or a puncture-type injury (particularly where there has been contact with material likely to contain tetanus spores [for example soil or manure]); wounds containing foreign bodies; compound fractures; and wounds in people who have systemic sepsis.

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Head injuries

Generally, it is recommended to consult a doctor in the case of a head injury, especially for children, to ensure the best medical treatment and cosmetic results. Always take extra care during potentially dangerous activities and use protective gear such as helmets for those that pose a risk of head injury.
Happy children playing football
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Always see a doctor if the wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth. Please note that, although they were compiled with great care, the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice, regardless of what you have learned on this website. Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the leaflets of our products.

For further information, please contact us via email at  ConsumerRelationsUK@Beiersdorf.com