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Let’s be honest — almost everyone has sought guilty pleasure from picking at their scab wounds. Whether it was a minor injury on your arm or the result of a skinned knee, it doesn’t matter. Picking on a wound has its own rush, albeit it’s pretty unsanitary.

But have you ever noticed the color of a normal scab wound? They’re typically a dark red or brown color due to the dried-up blood. However, it is not uncommon to find a yellow scab on a wound. Although slightly alarming, yellow scabs are quite common, especially when a wound is not properly cared for.

Why Is There A Yellow Scab On My Wound?

The last thing you expect after an injury is to see a muddy yellow scab forming on your wound. After all, that’s not normal, right?

Yellow scabs can indicate multiple things, but a healthy wound getting better is not one of them. Take a look below to see what is causing your open wound to turn yellow.

  1. Impetigo
    Impetigo is a type of skin infection that takes root after a traumatic skin injury. It occurs when bacteria sneak into the open wound — much like a cut or vulnerable skin surface. This infection can cause a yellow crust to form atop the skin, making it ooze from underneath.
    Moreover, it is most commonly found in people who have eczema or children with runny noses. And even though it is not severe, impetigo does have the tendency to be contagious, which is why it’s better not to pick on your wounds.
  2. Cold Sore
    An extension of HSV, cold sores typically arises around your lips or mouth area. Plus, due to the tiny blisters, there’s a lot of itching and burning related to them. Not to mention, when these fluid-filled blisters pop, it can be extremely painful to manage. Nonetheless, when the blisters dry up, a yellow scab may form on top of the wound before falling off soon.
  3. Serous Fluid Collection
    Serous fluid is a translucent yellow liquid that furthers the healing process of a wound. Due to its moist nature, it provides the skin with a nourishing habitat to grow and repair. Serous fluid is comprised of electrolytes, sugars, proteins, and white blood cells.
    So, sometimes, rather than it being a yellow scab, it’s just a natural serum produced by your body to protect the wound.
  4. Biofilm Colonization
    Usually found in chronic wounds, biofilm is a bacterial colony that grows on a wound that has stopped healing midway. Although it is not usually visible, sometimes biofilm can appear as a thick, yellow lining on the base of a wound, resembling a scab. This indicates that the wound is infected and is taken over by a colony of bacteria.

Treatment Options

Depending on the type of wound, the yellow scab on top of it can differ. Due to this, it is best to consult a doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. In most cases of a wound, however, doctors suggest bandaging the area until it heals.

For cold sores and biofilm colonization, though, treatment can be tricky. Over-the-counter topical medication may work, but it s not 100% guaranteed. Only a professional will be able to provide the cure for chronic yellow scabs.

Bottom Line

Simply put, a yellow scab on a wound isn’t all that uncommon. Depending on the placement of the wound, it can either be something easy to heal from or something much more serious.

If your wound isn’t healing properly or the yellow scab starts to leak, contact Sharaf Diwan, MD, at (832) 604-0005. Our experts will examine and take care of your wounds the right way.

Nevertheless, for more information, you can visit us at 18220 TX-249 #230, Houston, TX 77070, at the Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital.

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