Ouchy, that’s a boo boo!
It can hurt like no tomorrow whenever you scrape your skin deeply or get a nasty cut and you start to bleed. Eventually, you’ll notice that in place of the bloody cut or scrape, there’s a scab. But what are scabs made of and how do scabs form?
As soon as your skin and blood vessels are damaged, your blood interacts with collagen. This is a protein that is found in your skin. When this is detected, specialized blood cells called platelets, or thrombocytes, rush to the area and secrete inflammatory factors. At the same time, these platelets stick together; they aggregate to form a clot.
Two other proteins, fibrin and fibronectin, then form a net-like structure to prevent further blood loss. Platelets attach to this net and acts as a temporary skin layer until the entirety of the net structure is replaced by collagen.
The platelets release growth factors, which stimulate the rate of cellular division, to help regenerate the lost or damaged skin cells. It releases a lot of other proinflammatory factors that help in the healing process, like serotonin and histamine, to dilate blood vessels and increase cell proliferation.
A scab is basically the net structure intermediate of fibrin, fibronectin and platelets that acts as a shield for your body against any external infectious particles.
So, it’s good that our bodies scab in response to blood vessel damage because, otherwise, we would be exposed to several infectious particles and contract diseases with every paper cut that drew blood. And that could lead to much more pain than a little boo boo.