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Come Back Stronger

New type of hydrogel that triggers scar-less wound healing

04 January 2021

Come Back Stronger

Most of us will have scars somewhere on our body. Whether large or small, each one is a permanent reminder of the natural healing processes at work within our skin. When we’re wounded, the body forms scar tissue as quickly as possible to cut the chance of infection, reduce pain and prevent too much fluid being lost. Doctors can use soft sheets of gel, known as hydrogels, to stop wounds from drying out and help them heal faster, but this speed can often lead to scarring. Researchers have now developed a new type of hydrogel that integrates into a wound and triggers a healing immune response, leaving strong, healthy, unscarred skin. This healed skin, shown here, has many of the features of regular skin, including hair follicles (highlighted in green). Although they’re still at an early stage, these new hydrogels could be a helping hand for healing one day.

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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