Everything You Should Know About Scab

A scab is a protective crust that forms over open wounds or sores during the first stage of healing. A scab physically seals the wound to protect it from dirt, debris, and other potential contaminants. Scabs also help prevent further tissue damage and keep the wound clean, which can accelerate the healing process.

The main components of scabs are made up of dried blood, white blood cells, platelets, and a protein called fibrin, which act as a type of clotting material. This combination acts as a protective covering until the area beneath is ready to heal. As the healing process progresses, the scab will eventually fall off on its own.

Types of Scabs

The two main types of scabs are dry scabs and wet scabs:

  • Dry scab: is formed when a wound is left open to the air. These scabs tend to be flaky in texture and may become easily agitated when touched.
  • Wet scab: is formed when a wound is closed. This type of scab is usually yellowish in color, is more adherent to the area beneath, and does not easily come off when disturbed.

Signs and Symptoms

A scab itself may not cause many symptoms, but it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Bacterial or fungal infection
  • A viral infection, such as chickenpox, cold sores, or shingles
  • A skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis
  • An allergic reaction such as contact dermatitis
  • A wound caused by an injury or surgery


Treatment for scabs usually depends on the underlying medical condition. In most cases, the scabs will go away on their own as the wound heals. In some cases, however, a doctor may suggest using ointment or other medications to speed up the healing process.

In certain cases, a doctor may recommend that the scab be removed. This can be done using a sterile instrument, such as tweezers, and then cleaning and dressing the wound. If the scab is caused by a bacterial infection, a doctor may recommend antibiotics or other medications.


The best way to prevent scabs is to take care of any wounds quickly and appropriately. Wash the wound with mild soap and water, apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment, and then cover it with a sterile bandage. If the wound is at risk of being contaminated with dirt or debris, consider using a waterproof bandage.

If you are prone to scabs or have underlying medical conditions that can cause scabs, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent them from forming in the first place.