​Typical cuts and grazes are areas of damage on the surface of the skin or mucus membranes induced by an external factor. Superficial cuts are not normally considered dangerous, but deep cuts may need to be closed by stitches or surgical glue. Most superficial cuts can be treated at home.

The skin protects the layers of tissue underneath. Sometimes a minor impact or injury can cause a damage or wound the surface layers of the skin. Pressure ulcers may develop on the skin as a result of long-term pressure.

Cuts and wounds differ based on their cause and location. Most often the cuts are either incised wounds or puncture wounds caused by a sharp object. Abrasions and lacerations may be the result of violence or biting. Superficial cuts on the extremities may damage also nerves, tendons and or vessels. Sometimes even a minor cuts can bleed quite heavily, if they locate on a site with a lot of blood vessels. Careful wound management promotes healing, prevents infections and reduces scar tissue​.​​

First aid and self-help

​Stop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure on the cut. Do not clean the cut with detergents. After the cut stops bleeding, clean it by rinsing with cool, running water and remove possible debris (e.g. sand or shards of glass) without touching the cut.

A cut is considered superficial if it reaches no deeper than the fatty tissue under the skin and is no more than 2 cm wide. Most superficial cuts and grazes can be treated at home. Close the skin edges with butterfly stitches or surgical tape and protect the cut with a dry and clean bandage. The cut is kept clean and dry for 3-7 days depending on the size of the cut. The cut can then form a scat without dressing and bandaging.

Slight excretion of yellow or greenish pus is normal, as long as the area around the injury is not red and hot, daily showering is sufficient treatment. Cuts and grazes heal and scar over in approximately 2 weeks.​

When should you seek medical advice?

​You should seek medical advice, if

  • ​​​the cut is not superficial.
  • ​the cut has a jagged edge, is dirty or some skin is missing.
  • the cut is bleeding profusely still after 20 minutes of pressure.
  • the cut is close to delicate organs (eye, larynx) or on the hand.
  • the wound is caused by an animal or human bite.
  • ​there is a foreign body inside the wound.
  • ​the wound is not healing and there is swelling, redness and increasing amount of pus in the affected area.​

If the cut requires sutures or glueing, it should be seen by a medical professional within six hours from the injury. Delay in closing the cut increases the risk of infection.​

Dirty or animal bite wounds pose a slight risk for tetanus. Check the need for tetanus vaccination or booster at your health centre or occupational health centre the following working day. For more information about tetanus vaccination, please see The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) Website:

More information

The producers of the instruction

​​​​Emergency care professionals have produced the instruction in collaboration with Terveyskirjasto.​


Updated  22.4.2021