Ever wonder why your scars tend to grow beyond the boundaries of the original site of a skin injury? Well, these raised scars are referred to as keloids. They are the result of irregular wound healing and can appear on anyone but African Americans, and Hispanics are 16 percent more likely to have them. Keloids are also seen 15 times more often on Black than on caucasian skin.
What causes keloids?
Clinicians are still baffled as to why or how keloids form but skin trauma appears to be the most common explanation. Sometimes they can form for no solid reason. Anything that can cause a scar, can result in a keloid–burns, cuts, acne, surgery, puncture, chicken pox, insect bites, piercing, and even a tattoo. It might take as long as three months or more for a keloid to take shape after an injury. Keloids also tend to run in families.
How are keloids diagnosed?
Keloids are usually diagnosed by a physician, preferably a dermatologist. A doctor will determine if whether the scar is a keloid by examining its size, location snd texture. Sometimes, a doctor might need a skin biopsy to rule out other kinds of skin growths.
What are the symptoms of keloids?
Suddenly pops up and grows slowly. It can take upwards of three months before you can even see a keloid on your skin. It might take months or even years before a keloid stops growing.
Raised scars. Keloids can appear as raised pink, red or purple scars with a flat surface. A keloid’s color may change from its original shade to a much darker hue and with even darker borders.
Different textures. A keloid feels different than its surrounding skin; it is soft and doughy although there are some that are hard and rough.
Various sensations. When keloids are growing, they may be itchy, tender or painful when you touch them. The sensations might stop once the keloid has stopped growing.
Where are keloids found?
Keloids can be found practically enywhere on the body. They are, however, most commonly found on the back, shoulders, chest, neck and ears. As far as size, keloids can measure less than an inch to greater than a foot or more.
How are keloids treated?
Keloids can be difficult to remove because they can return even after treatment; their high rate of recurrence is up to 50 percent. A doctor will typically aim to flatten, soften, or shrink a keloid by combining such treatment options as:
Cryotherapy freezes keloids to shrink and soften them
Corticosteroid injections shrinks keloids
Wearing silicone sheets or gel can flatten keloids
Laser therapy flattens and fades keloid’s pigment
Surgery cuts out the keloid but a return is possible
Compression treatment post surgery, steady pressure applied to keloids to reduce blood flow, break them up and to keep it from returning
Keloids are not life-threatening! They can, however, cause emotional issues in those who are affected by them because they can be unslightly and embarassing.
Need more information about keloids? Visit the American Academy of Dermatology–www.aad.org