What are keloid scars?
A keloid is a type of raised scar that often continues to increase in size. It is a raised area of tough, hard tissue, usually irregular in shape. Keloids usually appear smooth with a pinkish or purplish colored top. They may be painless, but they can become painful or itchy, especially if infection sets in.
What causes keloids?
Injury to the skin results in collagen growth, which is necessary for healing. When this growth does not stop after the wound is healed, it becomes a keloid. Virtually anything that damages the skin can cause one in a susceptible person. This includes:
- Body piercing
- Pimples and skin blemishes
- Small cuts and scrapes
Reducing your risk
Certain individuals are predisposed to this type of scarring. The exact reason for the predisposition is not known, although we do know that it is more prevalent in people of African, Northern European, and Asian descent. The best way anyone can prevent keloids is by avoiding skin injury. This includes piercings, tattoos, and elective surgeries.
Clearing up any infection is the first priority of treatment. Once that has been accomplished, the keloid can be treated using one of several methods:
- Corticosteroid injection – This treatment relieves itching and pain, as well as causing the scar to shrink and flatten. It is effective for approximately 70 percent of patients, although about 50 percent see the keloid return after a few years.
- Excision – Surgical removal alone frequently results in recurrence, though the success rate ranges from 50 to 90 percent when used in combination with other treatments.
- Silicone Gel Sheeting – Itching and other symptoms can be relived with this technique, but it does not remove the keloid.
Before After Gallery