Skin tears occur in those with fragile skin, including neonates and more frequently in the elderly. Some skin tears are unavoidable but many are considered to be preventable1. It is important that clinicians have a good understanding of the effects of ageing on the skin and take appropriate measures to reduce the risk of patients developing skin tears. For those with skin tears, good assessment skills and documentation are important for effective management. This article will focus on why skin tears occur, the classification tools available and offers a practical guide to the prevention and management of skin tears.