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When someone gets a little scrape, it's pretty common for them to cover it with a bandage while it heals. There are some people, though, who think it's best to leave the wound uncovered and let your body do its healing thing. Who's right? Science holds the answer!

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Go to Brilliant.org/SciShow to get 20% off an annual premium subscription. ♪. Sometimes, picking out a bandage for small wounds and scrapes can be kind of fun.

I mean, falling off your bike or whatever probably stung like no one’s business, but have you seen how many cartoon-themed bandages there are? Still, while your first instinct might be to grab a superhero bandage, other people choose to wear their scabs with pride. There’s even a debate out there about which method lets wounds heal faster.

On one hand, some people think keeping boo-boos covered and moist is the best option, while others think you should let them dry out and get all scabby. Well, bad news, Team Scabs. You might look more hardcore, but you’re probably not doing the best thing for your body.

The whole “scabs are better” idea does seem to make sense — at least, at first. Like, some people have claimed that wounds can’t get enough airflow and oxygen when they’re covered, so they can’t heal as well. And other people have pointed out that bacteria love growing in dark, moist places.

Just ask your armpits! But, turns out, neither of these things really matters when it comes to wound healing. Like, scabs don't need to breathe, unlike that expensive wine you just uncorked.

Wounds do require oxygen to heal, but they get everything they need from your blood. Also, reviews of the clinical literature have shown that, while injuries treated with moist, occlusive dressings can result in bacterial growth, they tend to have fewer incidents of infection compared to those treated with dry gauze. That’s because they create a better barrier against pathogens like the dreaded MRSA, and other nasty critters you don’t want colonizing an open wound.

Studies have also shown that skin heals faster and with less scarring when it’s kept moist. And this has a lot to do with the physiology of wound healing itself. The healing process has four phases: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation.

Keeping things moist is advantageous during the proliferation phase, which is when skin cells grow from around the edges of the injury toward the center. It’s a process called reepithelialization. Evidence has shown that it occurs more rapidly in moist environments and faster skin growth results in less scarring.

While scabs are pretty good at being the body’s natural bandage, the science has shown that modern bandages enhance the wound healing process. So why not use them to give your crunchy little scabs that extra boost? Your skin will appreciate it.

As always, though, if you have medical concerns or questions, whether about your wounds or the bandages that cover them, be sure to ask a trusted health care professional. There are all kinds of arguments about science on the Internet, but the nice thing is, you can get to the bottom of most of them if you understand some basic principles. If you want to brush up on your science knowledge or learn something new, you can check out a course from Brilliant.

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It talks about how molecules get their 3-D structure and compares that process to origami, which is really easy to wrap my brain around. Check out this course for yourself, as well as tons of others at Brilliant. And right now, the first 200 people to sign up at Brilliant.org/SciShow will get 20% off the annual Premium subscription.

So if you find a challenge problem or course you like, let us know! ♪.