When a person gets an injury and the skin is damaged, fibrous tissue is formed over the wound that helps protect and repair the injury. In some cases, this fibrous tissue, or scar tissue, grows in excess, resulting in hard, smooth growths. These are known as keloids.
As this scar tissue covers the injury during healing, keloids can grow to become much larger than the wound itself. Commonly, they are found on a person’s shoulders, chest, cheeks, and earlobes, but there have been cases where keloids can form on any part of a person’s body.
Are Keloids Dangerous?
Since keloids are basically scar tissue, they help when a wound is healing. They aid in protecting it from further injury and possible infection. Keloids are not harmful, but they can be unpleasant in appearance and can lead to cosmetic concerns.
What Are the Symptoms of Keloids?
Keloids are formed due to an overgrowth of scar tissue. The symptoms of a keloid are normally seen at the site of an injury or wound. They can include:
- A localized area of skin that is either flesh-colored, red, or pink
- Skin that has become ridged or lumpy and is raised
- Continued growth of the area over time due to scar tissue
- A patch of skin that is itchy or irritated
Keloid scars are normally much larger than the original wound and can take weeks or even months to fully develop. These scars can be itchy or sensitive, but they are not harmful. They can cause tenderness, discomfort, or irritation from contact with your clothing or touch. In severe cases, people can experience keloid scarring on large parts of their body, which can cause a restriction in their movements.
Although keloid scars are not harmful for your health, they can cause cosmetic concerns. They can be unpleasant looking, and people can become self-conscious if they develop a keloid scar in a prominent location such as their face or earlobe.
Tanning and prolonged exposure to the sun can cause discoloration of the scar tissue, making it darker than the person’s original complexion. This makes the keloid even more prominent.
Where Are Keloid Scars Most Likely to Occur?
Since keloids are scar tissues forming over wounds, they typically occur around skin injuries. Common places include:
- Chickenpox scars
- Acne scars
- Surgical incision sites
- Vaccination sites
- Ear piercings
There are also other factors that could increase your chances of developing keloids. Your ethnicity sometimes makes you more susceptible to increased scar-tissue formations. If you are younger than 30 years old, you have higher chances of developing keloids. Pregnant women are also more susceptible.
How Are Keloids Addressed?
A keloid scar may decrease in size over time, but the chances of it disappearing are very rare. If you would like to treat a keloid scar, there are several treatments you could consider, such as steroids injections, pressure or airtight dressings, radiotherapy, cryotherapy, laser treatment, surgery, cytotoxic medication, and interferon therapy.
You can also follow methods to prevent keloid formation by avoiding tattoos or body piercings and unnecessary cosmetic surgeries, especially in areas which are more prone to keloid formation.
Find Out More About Keloids and Treatment
Do you have a keloid scar that you would like treated? If so, contact our office to arrange a scar-reduction consultation. To learn more about what scar reduction can do for you, speak with one of our surgeons – Dr. Peter Butler or Dr. Jocelyn Leveque.