With Valentines Day here, nothing can be more heartwarming than when parents ask me some cutting edge questions about the scabs that result when their child experiences a scrape or other skin injury. Well let me see if I can provide some first-aid, so to speak, on this topic. Scabs form whenever the skin is scraped or broken thanks to special blood cells called platelets that stick together at a bleeding cut to stop the bleeding by forming a clot. As the clot gets hard and dries out it turns into a scab, or the bodys natural band-aid a hard, crusty, dark red or brown substance that can sometimes itch. Why is a scab good the hard surface of a scab protects the inside of the cut by keeping further germs out of the open area and allows the skin cells underneath to heal and form new skin and repair broken blood vessels. When new skin has been made to again protect the surface so no germs can get through, the scab will naturally fall off revealing brand new skin. Picking at a scab before its ready to come off by itself only reopens the cut and sets the wound up for being reinfected by germs that can now get back into it even if you put a band-aid on it. Picking at a scab also means it will take even longer to heal and may result in an unsightly scar from all the picking. So the name of the game is leave the scab alone! Use of a moisturizer rubbed into the scab will help reduce the need to itch and pick at it. Offering to do something special with your child if they do not pick their scab may also work. Just the thought that an ugly scar might form if you do pick at a scab may be all it takes to stop a child from picking. Remember one of my favorite teachings: you can pick your friends, but dont pick your scabs and certainly dont pick your friends scabs either. Hopefully tips like this will not leave you or your child scarred when it comes to knowing more about what to do when a scab forms following a skin cut.