Keloid: Causes, Treatment, and Removal

keloid

A keloid might be a new term for you. If you’ve never experienced a keloid, or know someone that has you’re probably in the dark.This skin condition can be a real headache from those that suffer from it. Keloids typically don’t pose much of a health risk thankfully. Now that that’s out of the way you probably want to know what a keloid is and a bunch of follow-up questions like how do you treat them? We’ll provide you with a solid fundamental understanding of keloids below.

What Is a Keloid?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a keloid is a smooth, hard, raised scar tissue. They differ from other types of scar tissue because they grow much more than other types of scars. Some grow larger than the original wound. Some keloid scars itch more than typical scars and may cause discomfort when they rub up against clothes. Keloids are not cancerous and don’t carry long-term health effects. They tend to form on the ears, chest, arms, and pelvic region.

The cosmetic concerns are usually the biggest concern for most people. People may feel self-conscious about a large, raised scar on their body. The person might feel more self-conscious if the scar is on a visible area of the body. Exposed keloids may change color from the sun. They may become more noticeable, which only adds to the self-consciousness. It’s important to keep keloids out of the sun for this reason.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person, but symptoms might include:

  • A raised area of skin that appears lumpy or ridged.
  • An area of start issue that keeps growing over time.
  • A raised itchy scar.
  • A flesh-colored, red, or pink scar.

What Causes Keloids?

A keloid forms after a wound occurs to the skin. A scrape, acne, surgery, or burn could cause a keloid. Piercing body parts and tattooing the skin could create a keloid as well. Spontaneous keloids occasionally form without injury. However, it’s extremely rare.

A keloid typically appears over time. A person may not see one for several months after an injury. It’s possible for them to grow quickly as well. There’s no exact timetable with keloids.

Who Gets Keloids?

It’s estimated that 10% of the population gets keloids. Skin with dark pigment tends to experience keloid scarring more often this may include people of Asian, Hispanic, and African descent. Pregnant women and people under 30 tend to have higher risks for keloids.

Treatment

Thankfully several treatment options exist for keloids. The options range in invasiveness and pain level.

Cryotherapy

This treatment works best on small keloids. It uses extreme cold to freeze the keloid while keeping the skin underneath it safe.

Silicone Gels and Sheets

The patient must wear a sheet of silicone gel on the keloid for a few months. Some dermatologists see success with this, but some disagree on the effectiveness of it. It also poses a problem because keeping the sheet on for extended periods of time isn’t easy.

Corticosteroid Injections

Steroid injections typically flatten A keloid. The keloid might become redder in color, because the steroids may help superficial blood vessels to form. Many doctors recommend laser treatment when this occurs to help reduce the redness. The skin will look and feel different than the unaffected skin around it. They are safe and come with a moderate level of pain. The course of treatment usually includes multiple injections over a period of months.

Laser

A post-dye laser flattens the keloid and reduces redness. The laser creates a low level of pain and very little safety concerns. Most insurance, however, doesn’t cover laser therapy and they cost a lot. You may require more than one session with the laser.

Surgery

Most people stay away from surgery because more keloids could form. Some surgeons use steroids or compression to keep a keloid from forming after surgery.

Interferon

This therapy uses proteins created by the body’s immune system. They inject the interferon into the keloid to reduce its size. The treatment shows promise but needs more research.

Superficial Radiation Therapy

Superficial radiation therapy delivers a precise dose of radiation right to the affected skin. No pain occurs during the procedure, and it lasts a short period. The radiation kills the cells in the keloid and allows the skin to heal smoothly. The patient usually undergoes a few rounds of treatment to see full results. To find out more about superficial radiation treatment click here.

Conclusion

The appearance is typically the worst part of a keloid. They don’t run the risk of turning into cancer. They usually affect people with darker pigment including people of African, Hispanic, and Asian descent. Many treatment options exist for keloids. Superficial radiation therapy looks like the most promising treatment. The patient feels no pain, and most treatments last no longer than a minute.