Fetal cutaneous wounds have the unique ability to completely regenerate wounded skin and heal without scarring. However, adult cutaneous wounds heal via a fibroproliferative response which results in the formation of a scar. Understanding the mechanism(s) of scarless wound healing leads to enormous clinical potential in facilitating an environment conducive to scarless healing in adult cutaneous wounds. This article reviews the embryonic development of the skin and outlines the structural and functional differences in adult and fetal wound healing phenotypes. A review of current developments made towards applying this clinical knowledge to promote scarless healing in adult wounds is addressed.
Keywords: cutaneous; embryogenesis; fetal wound healing; regeneration; scarless; scarring; wound healing.