While this condition is seen in males and females, keloids are more prevalent in females.

Keloid? What’s that?

A keloid scar is a raised scar that, unlike hypertrophic scars, will grow beyond the boundaries of the original wound. They can vary in size from a small pea size bump to as large as a football. They can feel firm and rubbery, and vary in color from flesh tones, to red, and darker than the flesh of the patient.

The scar can appear rope like, like twisted taffy, or like spilled liquid that has firmed up, or even just a small ball or bump. A keloid can be as varied as the person who has it.

While keloids are relatively harmless they are known for pain and itching. Large scars, or scars in certain locations my affect mobility, but they are not a precancerous growth.

Where? Who?

It is first important to know your risk for growing these fascinating skin blemishes. There are measures of prevention, or early treatment that can help with prior information.

Where do keloids usually appear? Here are a few areas most often treated for keloids:

  • Ears
  • Torso
  • Neck
  • C-section/abdomen

Of course those locations may dictate the size of the growth. They can also occur on the face, from chickenpox scarring, pimples or scratches, piercings, and even shaving.

So who gets them most often? Most patients with keloid scarring tend to be in their 20’s, and of African, Asian, or Hispanic descents. Research shows that people with those racial backgrounds have 15-20% more likely to develop keloids. Family history is also common factors in patients being treated for keloids.

While this condition is seen in males and females, it is more prevalent in females, due to higher rates of ear piercings, hysterectomies, and shaving frequency.

Those who get tattoos, burns, piercings, braid their hair too tightly, or who over shave may be at a higher risk of developing a keloid. If one knows their risks, then they can avoid, or take precautions ahead of time.

Now What?

So you were careful about getting that piercing, but you have this reddish purple pea size, painful bump. What can you do to get rid of it? There are several ways to relieve or remove the keloid, but some methods will have up to a 75%-100% return rate.

Corticosteroid shots, freezing the scar, laser therapy, surgery, ligature therapy, radiation and compression may be the foremost ways of treating keloids.

Cryotherapy, or freezing the scar off, will work wonderfully on small scars, but there is a risk that they will return as the skin is healed. Combining cryotherapy with corticosteroid shots may work best, in the long wrong, and have a higher rate of long term success.

These shots may help flatten the scar, shrink it, and help with any discomforts it provides to the patient. Shots do have to be repeated often, at least every few weeks, with a 50-80% shrink rate, but may regrow within five years. Studies are showing that pressure dressing, or garments seem to be the best treatment thus far.

Putting pressure on the area any time reduces the blood flow to the scar, which can slow its growth and prevent future keloid growths. The success rate for compression therapies can be between 90-100% effective, but they can be difficult; often times, a patient must wear the compression item for the majority of the day, for months at a time. There are even special pressure earrings to help with keloids of the ears.

Keloid scars can be small, and hardly noticeable, and some are quite large and can be grotesque and bothersome. There are some methods to prevent and cure, but most of them are not one hundred percent effective. Trying to minimize the trauma to your skin is often the best course to decrease the chances of these scars altogether.

Keloid scars are formed when collagen over grows an area. Those with higher melatonin and collagen in their skin will always be more prone to this type of scaring. The future of dermatology will, no doubt, hold new hope for keloid treatments.

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