What are keloids or keloid scars?
A keloid is a type of scar that grows too much and beyond the site of the original wound. It is not uncommon for scars to become a little lumpy (hypertrophic). A keloid scar however is different from a hypertrophic scar in that:
- Keloid scars may arise after even minor trauma to the skin or even if there has been no obvious injury at all ie spontaneously.
- Keloid scars often spreads beyond the original area of skin damage.
- Keloid scars do not resolve by themselves.
What causes keloid scars to occur?
Despite on-going medical research, the reason why keloid scars occur is not understood. We do know that:
- Dark skinned people often get keloid scars & that they are especially common in people with black skin (skin type VI).
- Keloid scars may appear anywhere but certain body sites are especially prone such as the upper chest, upper back, shoulders and earlobes.
- A history of keloid scarring increases the risk of getting another.
What are the symptoms of a keloid scar?
Dr Hussain has lots of experience in dealing with keloid scars. He often finds that patients find their keloid scars tender, painful and often itchy. Their appearance may also cause embarrassment for patients.
How can a keloid be treated?
Surgery is not an option for a keloid scar. Despite many years’ experience in managing keloid scars, Dr Hussain always informs his patients that treatment is difficult and success cannot be guaranteed. Some of the treatment options Dr Hussain may discuss with you include:
- Injections of a steroid (triamcinolone) into a keloid scar may help to flatten it and reduce symptoms.
- Steroid-impregnated tape applied for 12 to 24 hours a day may help flatten keloid scars.
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen may also stop early keloids from growing but may be associated with permanent skin discolouration.
- The use of a silicone dressing over keloid scars for several months may help flatten some keloids. Long-term compression with bandages may be beneficial for some patients.
- Laser treatments can help reduce the redness associated with keloid scars, but does not make them smaller.
If you are at risk of a keloid scar, trauma such as tattoos or body piercing should be avoided. You should also avoid having surgery which is not medically necessary primarily for cosmetic purposes.