Explosions, burns, and gunshots encountered during combat all acutely disrupt skin integrity and permanently impair its function as a mechanical and immunological barrier. Even with the best management currently available, scarred skin is impaired in its function because it is deficient in its microanatomy – it completely lacks hair follicles, leaving the skin dry, fragile, and slow to heal following repeated trauma. To decrease morbidity and scarring from skin wounds, it is critical to develop skin substitutes that regenerate normal skin structures. We have shown that we can construct skin equivalents that form human hair follicles de novo (J Invest Dermatol. 2014;134:538-540Nat Protoc. 2017;12:439-451). By developing the next generation of skin substitutes that reconstitute normal skin structures and the stem cell populations of skin, we will provide new options for treating our wounded warriors and restore normal skin function and appearance. (Exp Dermatol. 2014 Jun;23(6):443-6)

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