Data's skin being non-organic, doesn't 'self repair'. If they just sewed or glued on new pieces as his skin wore through at the joints and normal abrasion spots or was damaged in combat or accidents, he would quickly look like Frankenstein's monster yet he has no scars or notable blemishes.

Data's face, damaged

Is it ever shown or explained how his skin gets repaired or replaced?

  • 6
    Startrek uniforms, ships and other components also don't have visible seams, sewed on patches, glued on bits, or zippers. Your question is poorly formed given the context - technology in the startrek era has very clearly evolved to beyond the point where sewing and gluing are the standard options for repairing anything. It's trivial to assume that Data's skin is repaired in a similar to fashion to literally everything else in the startrek universe. May 30, 2013 at 2:35
  • 2
    Why do you think his skin doesn't self-repair? He was created to be as human as possible by a supremely gifted inventor. He's even got working equipment for a sexual encounter.
    – Kevin
    May 30, 2013 at 2:48
  • 1
    @blueberryfields - Your 'rebuttal' is poorly formed, assumes facts not in evidence and doesn't attempt to answer or address the question at hand.
    – Morgan
    May 30, 2013 at 3:29
  • @Kevin - Why do you believe it can? Do you have any canon sources to support such a belief?
    – Morgan
    May 30, 2013 at 3:34
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    @Morgan See the movie First Contact, Data's skin is more durable than human skin
    – Izkata
    May 30, 2013 at 10:53

2 Answers 2


Your question appears to be based on some incorrect premises. Many things can be repaired without looking like a stitched or glued together patchwork of parts. Transporter/replicator technology alone would allow his skin to be repaired fairly easily without leaving visible scars.

Secondly, Dr. Soong took great pains to make Data human-like down to the smallest details. This is why he's able to eat and drink normal food, breathes, blinks (based on a Fourier series), is anatomically correct, has an aging program, has hair that grows (at will), and is even able to dream. It's therefore likely that Data's skin also self-repairs to some degree like a human's, and there's no evidence that it doesn't.

There are no canonical sources describing Data's skin, but a close-up of his hand shows that his skin (Data refers to it as molecular fabric; in a later episode, it's described as bioplast sheeting) has a cell-like structure: magnifier showing the individual cells in Data's bioplast sheeting

Lastly, there's no rule that says only carbon-based materials can be self-repairing. Here's a clear counter-example.

I would assume that Data's skin is probably resilient enough to resist fatigue at his joints, or the bioplast sheeting has some basic self-repair functions to counter deformation stresses. When his skin does need manual repair, it would be a simple matter of grafting new bioplast sheeting over the damaged area. If a dermal regenerator can heal wounds without leaving scars, then how Data's skin can be repaired without scarring should require no further explanation.

  • Lèse majesté, I've been looking around and your answer seems to be the best answer available... so far. +1
    – Morgan
    Jun 2, 2013 at 15:17

Here is an image of Doctor Crusher performing surgery on Data (and possibly Lore) from the episode Datalore (S1-E12). She is preparing to close up Data's skin after studying his internal makeup.

This device, whatever it is, does not show up on any of the sites as a dermal regenerator, even though it acts very much like one sealing the skin without a mark.

  • It could be a prop oversight, where the tool IS a dermal regenerator and simply never used again or...

  • It could be an engineering tool used to close the bioplastic interface which acts as Data's skin.

In either case, it adds to the idea, whatever Data's skin is made of, it is treated physically as well as medically as an analog similar to human skin, similar enough to be treated medically with the same skills used to treat human beings.

enter image description here

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  • In that same episode it is revealed that "fine grind quadratanium" is used in Data and Lore's construction and is analogous to an antiseptic or an ointment. So it is likely that that is what his skin is made out of.
    – Xantec
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:58
  • Nice find @Thaddeus. So the device we see there being held by Chief Engineer Argyle is used for Data's skin repair? If so that is much closer to answering the question. I await confirmation.
    – Morgan
    Jun 4, 2013 at 0:08
  • It is the device, I have the screenshot showing the repair, but I haven't been able to find out what the device is called. Jun 4, 2013 at 0:29

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