Skinning, a gerund from the verb "to skin", commonly refers to the act of skin removal. Skinning is often done with a hunting knife.

The process is usually done with dead animals, mainly as preparation for consumption of the meat beneath and/or use for the fur. The skin can also be used as a trophy or a simple proof of the kill to collect a premium from health, agricultural, or other authorities, in the case of a species that has been declared a pest.

Skinning can also be performed on live humans as a form of corporal punishment, known as flaying. As the removal of all (or most) of a person's skin is terminal, as well as extremely painful, this is a brutal method of capital punishment.

Partial skinning

Scalping refers specifically to the removal of the skin from the skull, usually performed on a dead victim.

Where predetermined patterns of skin are removed from the body, partial skinning can be used as a form of body modification art, as the practice leaves extremely prominent scars. It is extremely painful and must be done by a highly skilled person to avoid unintentional damage. Because of the large open wounds, risk of infection and other complications after the procedure are much more likely than with other body modification practices.

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