A keloid is a hard, heaped-up scar that rises quite suddenly atop the skin. When the skin is injured, fibrous tissue called scar tissue forms over the wounded area to restore and shield the injury. But keloids can be larger than the original wound or scar and they are commonly observed on the chest, shoulders, earlobes, and cheeks. Keloids are irregularly shaped and tend to expand progressively, unlike scars, keloids continue to grow and enlarge over time. Though keloids are not harmful to your health, they may cause cosmetic problems, if it is large in a highly visible location, such as on an earlobe or the face.
Some of the common symptoms of a keloid include:
A localized region that is flesh-coloured, pink, or red
Raised lump in the skin
Itchy patch of skin
Generally, keloid scars that are itchy are not harmful to health. A person may experience discomfort, tenderness, or irritation from the clothes or other forms of friction.
A region that continues to grow larger with scar tissue over time, but this is rare. When it develops, the hardened, tight scar tissue may limit movement.
Most types of skin problem or injury can lead to keloid scarring, which include:
Surgical incision sites
About 10% of people experience keloid scarring, both men and women are likely to get keloid scars. While people with darker skin tones are more prone.
Keloids Vs. Hypertrophic Scars
Keloids are at times confused with another more common type of scar called hypertrophic scars. These are flat, small scars that range from pink to brown in colour and settle on their own over time. They are caused by different forms of physical or chemical injuries, like piercings or very severe fragrances. Initially, fresh hypertrophic scars are itchy and painful, but symptoms lessen as the skin heals.
A dermatologist diagnoses keloid by collecting medical history and doing a thorough visual examination of the scar to monitor its size, shape and growth pattern. The doctor may further suggest a skin biopsy to rule out more severe problems such as nodular scleroderma, a type of connective tissue disease or lobomycosis, a fungal infection of the skin.
The dermatologist usually, recommend laser treatment for curing keloids. Where a high beam of light aids to resurface the keloid and surrounding skin regions to create a smoother, more toned complexion. However, there is a risk involved in laser treatment that may worsen keloid by increasing scarring and redness.
When the keloid is very large or an older keloid scar, surgical removal is highly suggested. The rate of return for keloid scarring post-surgery may be high. However, the benefits of removing a large keloid may offset the risk of post-surgery scars.
Cryotherapy: Cryosurgery is one of the most effective types of surgery for keloids, that works by freezing away the keloid with liquid nitrogen. Post-surgery the doctor may give corticosteroid infections to lower inflammation and risk of the keloid returning.
Pressure Therapy: It involves using a special device of clothing to apply pressure on the area and impede the blood flow to the site to inhibit the regrowth of the keloid. This treatment is often done after surgery and can be hard for many people to follow it.
Radiation Therapy: Vey low dose radiation is given after the surgery to avert scar from going back.
Silicone Gels and Patches: These silicone-based gels help to compress and reduce the size and colour of the scars.
Ligature: The dermatologist chooses to use a surgical thread to tie around the keloid, which drops off the blood supply, so that the keloid naturally falls off after a period.