You get a cut or scrape on your skin, and what happens? Except for applying antibiotic or a bandage, you probably think little of it. It heals, and life goes on. But the skin healing process is something we should not take for granted.
Our bodies perform a complex healing process for even a small wound. Granulation tissue consists of new connective tissue and microscopic blood vessels. Your body generates granulation tissue from the base of the wound growing until it closes the wound. It may be light red to dark pink because of the new blood capillaries, and it’s usually moist and bumpy, or “granular.”
Cells surrounding the wound secrete molecules called extracellular matrix (ECM) to provide structural support. Cells called fibroblasts secrete collagen, the main structural protein of connective tissue. Collagen is resistant to bacteria, so it helps prevent infection while promoting healing. Fibroblasts are stem cells, meaning that they can morph into various kinds of cells as needed for the part of the body that’s being healed.
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a protein that stimulates cell growth. It’s found in blood plasma, and blood is supplied to the new tissue through the new capillaries. An interesting sidenote is that EGF is also found in the saliva of all mammals. When an animal licks its wounds, it’s not just cleaning the area, it’s also helping to promote the healing of the wound.
This is a greatly oversimplied explanation of the skin healing process, but it shows a glimpse of a very complex system that we can’t believe was an accident. Even before the healing begins, another complex process causes the blood to clot. We think that the ability of our bodies to heal is another example engineering design by the Master Designer.
— Roland Earnst © 2020