Scabs are an important part of the healing process, but they are also unsightly and itchy. If you have one, you probably want to know how to heal scabs fast. And that’s exactly what we’re going to teach you today!
When a scab forms, it's the body's way of protecting the wound from further damage and infection. The scab will eventually fall off on its own, but there are some things you can do to speed up the process.
We’ve all felt the urge to peel off the scab before - especially if it itches. After all, if it’s not there, doesn’t that mean your wound is closer to being healed?
In fact, this is one of many misconceptions when it comes to how to heal scabs fast. If you want to get rid of your scab AND actually heal your wound, then you need what’s to come in this article.
Before we dive into how to heal scabs fast, let’s make sure you understand what scabs are, how they form, and why they are important to the natural healing process.
What is a scab - and how do scabs form?
A scab is made up of dried blood clots that form over the surface of an injury. It is one of the first signs of a healing wound.
When you get a cut, your body instantly works to heal the wound. This process involves clotting the blood to stop the bleeding, followed by the repair of the tissues.
During this process, a scab will form over the wound. The scab creates a protective barrier that helps prevent infection and promotes healing.
In the first of the four stages of wound healing, platelets in your blood form a clot at the wound site. Vitamin K, Calcium, and a protein called fibrinogen are all essential nutrients that help the platelets form a clot.
When the platelets feel the presence of air, they immediately react with the fibrinogen to form a web-like mesh around the wound - and create a scab!
So now you know what a scab is, how one forms, and why scabs are important for preventing infection. But what you really want to know is how to heal scabs fast - so let’s dive in!
The do’s and don’ts of how to heal scabs fast
If you’re trying to learn how to heal scabs fast, there are lots of do’s and don’ts to consider. Here are 10 of them!
DO keep your scab clean
The first and most important step in how to heal scabs fast is to keep them clean. This will help to prevent infection and will also speed up the healing process.
Your wound may be exposed to dirt, sweat, and other agents that can cause infection. You can practice how to heal scabs fast by practicing a proper cleaning routine.
Clean the area with mild soap and warm water, then apply a thin layer of ointment. This can be an antibiotic ointment, or a barrier cream like petroleum jelly.
DON’T put alcohol on the scab
There are a lot of quick tricks and hacks online on how to heal scabs fast. So you may wonder, “Can you put alcohol on wounds?”
Using hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol on wounds is a myth debunked by many doctors. When applied directly to the skin, alcohol can cause tissue damage and actually slow down the healing process - so it’s certainly not the fastest way to heal a scab!
Alcohol is too harsh on the skin and can damage the surrounding healing tissue. It is better to use a mild disinfectant or gently wash the scab under warm water to remove germs and stop bleeding.
DO cover the area
Covering the scab with a breathable bandage can prevent bacteria and other germs from settling into the wound. If there is no infection, your scab should heal more quickly!
A bandage can also help to keep the wound from drying out, which is important when learning how to heal scabs fast.
DON’T forget to change the bandage
If you really want to learn how to heal scabs fast, just putting a bandage on isn’t enough - you must remember to always cover your scab with a clean dressing. Otherwise, the wound site may get infected, which can delay the healing process and cause further damage.
It’s best to change your bandage regularly to prevent dirt, germs, and any wound drainage from building up. Try changing to a fresh bandage every day or two.
DO keep the scab moist
When learning how to heal scabs fast, you should keep your scab moist by using an ointment or cream that contains petroleum jelly or other ingredients that lock in moisture. Be sure to apply the ointment or cream according to the instructions on the package.
It is important to keep a scab moist because dry scabs can cause extra itchiness and discomfort. They may also crack and provide opportunity for infection. A moist scab will also keep the bandage from sticking to the scab, so you don’t re-injure yourself when you change your dressing!
DON’T pull the bandage off
While keeping your wound moist can assist when changing bandages, it’s still important to be careful. If you’re trying to learn how to heal scabs fast, the last thing you want to do is rip the scab open and have to start all over again!
Yanking off your bandage can cause fresh bleeding. To avoid this, you should remove the cover gently. You can moisten the bandage with oil or warm water before peeling it off.
You may prefer to remove the bandage after a bath or shower, once the adhesive has been weakened.
DO eat a balanced diet
Knowing how to heal scabs fast also means knowing what to eat. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet, and stay away from sugary and fatty foods.
DON’T pick at the scab
It can be tempting to pick at a scab, but resist the urge! Picking at a scab can delay healing and may even lead to infection.
The discomfort is probably why you're learning how to heal scabs fast in the first place, but don’t undo all your body’s hard work of healing! Scratching your scab can not only cause complications - it can lead to permanent scarring.
DO take collagen supplements
Possibly the most effective lesson in how to heal scabs fast is to use collagen. Your body needs collagen to heal itself with. Making sure that it has a ready supply expedites the healing process and lessens the time that you will have a scab.
There are a few ways of getting collagen. The first is to get it through a food source. Eggs, meat on-the-bone, and organ meat are all sources of collagen. Unfortunately, they are not particularly high in collagen, so you have to eat large amounts of them to notice an improvement in the scab healing process.
The next way of getting collagen is through bone broth. This has far more collagen, but involves a lengthy process of boiling down bones or buying expensive broth from a health food store.
This brings us to the last and best way of speeding up the scab healing process with collagen: collagen supplements. Collagen supplements provide one of the fastest ways to heal a scab.
You might have heard about the wonders of collagen for cell repair and tissue renewal. Collagen is the main protein that helps to restore degenerated tissue and build new skin cells.
As you grow older, your body's natural collagen production decreases, and you may need daily supplements to up your collagen intake. We recommend using hydrolyzed or medical-grade collagen supplements.
DO see a doctor if the wound doesn’t heal
Sometimes knowing how to heal scabs fast means knowing when to see a doctor! If you have a wound that does not seem to be healing properly, or if you develop any signs of infection (such as redness, swelling, or drainage), be sure to see a doctor. They can provide you with additional treatment, such as antibiotics, if necessary.
Frequently asked questions about scabs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions to assist you in your understanding of scab healing:
How long do scabs take to heal?
This is a question that doesn't have a straightforward answer, as the healing process can vary greatly from person to person. In general, however, most scabs will heal and disappear within a few days to weeks.
The exact time frame depends on a number of factors, including the size and depth of the wound, the location of the wound, the individual's healing rate, and whether or not the wound was treated with any medication or ointment.
As long as you’re following our tips on how to heal scabs fast, your scab should heal up in no time!
Why do scabs itch?
One of the most annoying things about having a scab is the itchiness that often accompanies it. So why do healing wounds itch? The itchiness is caused by the healing process itself. As the body works to heal the wound, new skin cells are generated.
These new skin cells push up against the old ones, causing them to stretch and eventually break. This rupture of the skin cells releases histamines, which can cause itching. It’s important to remember that it’s all part of the healing process!
How do you prevent scarring from scabs?
Keeping your scab covered and clean can prevent scarring, and it’s important to avoid scratching or picking at the scab. Covering your wound with an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly may help to prevent scarring as well.
What should I do if my scab is itching?
If your scab is itching, you may be tempted to scratch it. But resist the urge! Scratching can damage the new skin beneath the scab, prolong healing, and can also lead to infection.
To stop the itch, try an antihistamine like diphenhydramine (Benadryl). You can take antihistamines orally or apply them topically as a cream or ointment. This will help to block the histamine response and allow the itching to subside.
Can I remove a scab before it falls off?
A scab is a protective layer that forms over a wound to promote healing. Once the scab has formed, it should not be removed before it has healed properly, as this can delay healing and increase the risk of infection.
Do scabs heal faster covered?
Do wounds heal faster covered or uncovered? Studies show that the answer is: covered! This is because wounds need moisture (not air) to heal.
In fact, exposing a scab can cause the new surface cells to dry out. In addition, opening up the wound can increase the risk of infection and allow bacteria to enter the wound.
Do any foods or supplements promote swift scab healing?
We took a look at the nutrition side of how to heal scabs fast a little further up, but let’s go into a bit more detail. Here are some of the foods and supplements that can help speed up the scab healing process!
Foods rich in vitamins and minerals
Eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals will help to support your body's natural healing process. Foods that are particularly good for promoting healing include leafy green vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Another method of how to heal scabs fast involves taking omega 3 fatty acids. Consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps to reduce the amount of time it takes for scabs to heal due to their anti-inflammatory qualities.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in great quantities in fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. They can also be found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Adding these foods to your diet may help to quicken the healing process of your scabs.
Studies show that taking vitamin C supplements helps to significantly speed up the healing process. Vitamin C is an important nutrient for supporting the immune system and promoting healing - thanks, in part, to its role in collagen synthesis.
Vitamin C can be found in abundance in citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and strawberries.
Zinc supplements may help to reduce the healing time of scabs and wounds. Zinc is an important mineral for promoting wound healing. It can be found in oysters, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and cashews, amongst other foods.
If you’re looking for the fastest way to heal a scab, it may very well be through a daily collagen supplement. The cornerstone of how to heal scabs fast is making sure you’re topping up your natural collagen reserves - because collagen is what your body uses to create new tissue cells!
Collagen wound healing is unparalleled, particularly when you use a high-quality, bioavailable form of collagen like hydrolyzed collagen. There simply is nothing that comes close to its ability to heal your skin - so it will help you get rid of that itchy scab once and for all!