Wound healing is a complex process that we have only recently begun to understand. Central to wound repair is transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), a cytokine secreted by several different cell types involved in healing. TGF-beta has diverse effects, depending upon the tissue studied. This review focuses on healing in skin, particularly the phases of cutaneous wound repair and the role of TGF-beta in normal and impaired wound-healing models. It also explores TGF-beta activity in scarless foetal wound healing. Knowledge of TGF-beta function in scarless repair is critical to improving healing in clinical scenarios, such as diabetic wounds and hypertrophic scars.