Mother putting a Safe and Sound Health plaster on a child's injured knee

What are scabs and why are they important?

Scabs aren’t exactly something you want to have. They don’t look very nice, and they can itch as they heal. It can be difficult to resist picking them off or accidentally knocking them, especially for children who might find it hard not to scratch or just pick at a scab due to natural curiosity. However, scabs are an important part of the wound healing process, and the best thing to do is to leave them alone and let them heal.

When a wound is healing, you should try to protect it so that it can heal on its own. There are some misconceptions about what you should do to help a wound heal, but it’s easy to understand what you really need to do.

 

What Are Scabs?

A scab forms on the skin after it has been broken. You might get a scab from a cut, a scratch or a scrape as the wound starts to heal itself. Some scabs might come from acne, very dry skin, chickenpox or even bug bites. The scab is there to protect the wound and forms after your blood has clotted and the surface of the wound starts to dry out. It might look red or brown, and covers the wound as healing continues underneath the scab. A scab is there to help prevent infection by keeping out bacteria. Cleaning a wound before a scab forms helps to ensure there are no bacteria that can grow once the wound has scabbed over.

 

Treating a Wound

When you get a shallow wound that doesn’t require serious medical attention, treating it yourself is easy. Everyone has experienced minor injuries that they can treat at home and that soon stop bleeding.

There are three main steps to take when it comes to wound care. First, wash your hands, then clean the wound and cover it.

When you wash your hands, make sure to spend time cleaning them thoroughly. Use warm water and soap and clean in-between your fingers, as well as the fronts and backs of your hands. If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an antibacterial hand gel or an antiseptic wipe.

To clean out a wound, you can also use an antibacterial spray or wipe. This will help to get rid of any germs that might get under your skin and prevent infection. Once the wound is clean, you can cover it with a clean plaster or bandage.

Many people think that having a plaster over a wound is a bad idea because the wound needs to be able to “breathe” to heal. However, this is untrue. In fact, it’s better to cover up a wound if you want to protect it and give it time to heal. A plaster is often all that’s needed to cover a minor wound. It helps to create a sterile environment and can protect the wound while it’s still bleeding or once it has stopped and started to scab over.

Sometimes, you might use a bandage or another dressing to cover a wound. However, plasters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can usually find one that’s suitable for a smaller injury. Click here to find out more about the different sizes and types of wound plasters

Plasters create an ideal environment for scabs and healing, sealing the wound off from bacteria once you have cleaned it. You can choose waterproof plasters that will keep the injury dry, although a moist wound can actually heal faster. You can use petroleum jelly or perhaps an antibacterial cream or spray to stop a scab from drying out too much. You can select from a range of shapes so that the plaster fits the area where the wound is found. A plaster can also help with an itchy scab, stopping children from scratching while the wound is healing.

While your wound is healing, you can also use a warm compress to help increase blood flow, which promotes healing. A cold compress is also a good idea, helping to relieve itching and reduce swelling.

 

Do Scabs Scar?

Sometimes wounds can leave scars, even if they’re not particularly serious. While some scars aren’t very noticeable, others aren’t so easy to ignore. If you want to avoid scarring from a wound, being careful not to knock off the scab is important. Scabs are a part of the healing process, and picking scabs can cause scars. If you knock it off, you could disrupt the wound’s natural healing and cause it to scar instead of heal neatly.

Scabs might not be very nice to look at, but it’s not a good idea to disturb them. If you want a cleanly healed wound with no scar, taking care of it and leaving the scab alone is essential.

Related articles