What is a Keloid?
What are Keloids and How do They Form?
Our skin heals itself by forming a fibrous tissue type known as scar tissue over the wound sustained from cuts or lacerations. The scar tissue acts as the wound’s defense mechanism while it slowly heals. However, in some instances, scar tissue overgrows which then results in lumpy, hard growths on the wound area. This overgrown and sometimes deformed scar tissue is known as a keloid.
Keloids do not pose any health risks despite appearing dangerous due to its deformed nature. However, for some people, keloids create cosmetic concerns as it can form on any part of the body. Keloids are usually found on the cheeks, earlobes, chest, or shoulders.
Furthermore, some people are more susceptible to developing a keloid when scarring than others. Among the characteristics of people who are more likely to develop keloids include:
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurepeople of African-American, Latino, and Asian descent or people who have dark skin
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurepeople aged 30 years old or younger
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurepregnant women
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structureteenagers undergoing puberty
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structureindividuals who have a family history of keloids
What Causes Keloids?
The skin repairs the wound by forming scar tissue on and around the damaged area after an injury. Keloids form when the scar tissue continues to grow even if the wound has already healed. Several types of injuries lead to keloids which include but are not limited to the following:
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurelacerations, cuts, tears, and gashes
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structuresurgical wounds
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurepuncture scars and injection sites
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurechicken pox
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structureinsect bites
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structuresevere acne
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurepiercings and tattoos
Although itchiness, discomfort, tenderness, and irritation may be experienced when keloids form, they are typically harmless to one’s health. Some other notable symptoms besides those mentioned earlier may also be experienced in the weeks or months prior to a fully-developed keloid. These symptoms include:
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurethe appearance of a pink, red, or flesh-colored area near or on the surrounding skin
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurethe presence of a raised lumpy or ridged area of skin
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurethe continuous growth of scar tissue
- A more aesthetically pleasing aligned nasal structurethe persistence of an itchy patch of skin
How to Prevent Keloids?
The best prevention for keloid formation is to avoid sustaining these skin wounds since they often develop from various skin injuries. Moreover, keloids can grow after getting body piercings, particularly on those done on the earlobes. Studies show that it is advisable to use non-metal earring backs after an ear piercing procedure to prevent keloids from forming or avoiding piercings all together when a family history of keloids is present.
Upon getting these overgrown scar tissues, keloids are known to be notoriously tough to remove because even with a successful keloid removal procedure, there is still a high possibility for keloids to regrow or reappear. This high chance of regrowth is due to the fact that the body is highly probable to react in the similar exaggerated way to the keloid removal surgery or procedure as it did to the initial injury that caused it.
Due to these circumstances, the typical goal of a keloid treatment is for scar management which means flattening, softening, or shrinking the overgrown scar tissue gradually. Many surgeons and doctors will typically resort to the use of a combination of treatments to achieve the best results since they are that difficult to get rid of. These keloid treatments include the following:
Corticosteroid shots or intralesional steroids are a type of remedy that helps shrink or flatten a keloid. These steroid injections are given once every four to eight weeks and are safe but slightly painful. The side effect of this procedure, however, is that it makes the flattened keloid appear redder due to its blood vessel-stimulating properties.
Cryotherapy means freezes scar. This treatment can be undergone to reduce the hardness and size of the keloid and works best on small keloids. Its side effect is that it can darken or lighten the area being treated depending on particular situations.
Silicone Gel or Sheeting
Sheeting or silicone gel treatments involve the wearing of a sheet of silicone gel on the affected site continuously for a certain period of time which helps in flattening the keloid.
Laser therapy can help flatten keloids as well as making it fade to have an even skin color. This laser treatment is perhaps the most effective keloid removal treatment and is safe and only involves minimal pain. Several laser therapy sessions may be needed to achieve the best results.
This procedure involves cutting out the keloid. The main drawback of surgical keloid removal is that it may trigger the growth of a similar or larger keloid. This procedure can be considered as one of the riskier options for keloid removal.
When to Get a Keloid Treatment
Keloids are often frowned upon due to its aesthetically unpleasing nature even if they do not pose a significant health threat. These skin conditions are more of a cosmetic concern than a health issue. Thus, anyone who acquires these lumpy and misshapen scars often become self-conscious especially for keloids that formed on visible areas.
Fortunately, some procedures and treatments are readily available and can conceal or improve the way keloids look, even if they don’t get rid of the scars completely. Finding a reliable plastic surgeon that puts a premium on patient preference and care is of the utmost priority in these situations.