A skin pack is a type of product packaging that sandwiches the product between a sheet of plastic and a cardboard backing. The plastic is applied to the object using a vacuum, or shrink-wrap technique, which removes all air from within the packaging system. In this way, the plastic serves as a type of skin, protecting both the product and the cardboard backing. The skin pack is similar to blister packs, with one key difference. While blister packaging is made from pre-formed plastic, skin packs are formed around the product itself as it is packaged.
This packing solution is most often used with small, lightweight objects. This is less secure than blister packaging, so the skin pack is often used with low-cost objects where security is of minimal concern. One simple example is sliced bacon sold pre-packaged in the grocery store, which includes a paperboard backing and an outer plastic wrapping. A skin pack may also be applied to small hand tools, toys, or electronics.
Before using a skin pack system to wrap products, manufacturers design an effective cardboard or paperboard backing. This backing sheet contains information about the product, and is designed to both catch the eye and support the product. Next, each product is placed against an individual backing sheet. Mylar or plastic sheets are applied over the entire object, then shrink wrapped to remove excess air. Any extra plastic is cut away, and a hole may be cut into the top of the cardboard so the product can be hung on a display.
One of the primary advantages to the skin pack is its low cost compared to other types of packaging solutions. The plastic wrapping protects both the product and the backing from moisture or dirt, and also offers some protection against theft. The clear plastic wrapping allows consumers to view the products clearly to examine color or other features, while the backing sheet provides basic information. This packing system is also easy to store and transport, and results in less waste than more complex packaging materials.
This packing system is not designed for heavy objects, which would put excess strain on the plastic wrap or paperboard backing. The skin pack is also not effective for packaging expensive or fragile objects. The thin plastic makes it easy for thieves to steal the product within without attracting too much attention, and provides little protection against impacts or damage.