Keloid – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Definition

A keloid is a harmless growth of fibrous tissue at the site of a healing scar. It is caused by overproduction of collagen.

The skin heals by formation of scar tissue, which at first is often red and somewhat prominent. After the months pass, a keloid usually becomes flat.

A keloid is abnormal because the scar extends above and beyond the site of the original injury. Normal scars stay confined to the site of injury. Keloids are thick, smooth areas of pink scar tissue. The scar tissue is raised above the level of the surrounding skin.

Causes

The cause of keloids is unknown. But most of the researchers believe that keloids are caused by due to the body’s failure to turn off the healing process needed to repair skin.

And another believe that it causes due to changes in the cellular signals that control growth and proliferation may be related to the process of keloid formation, but these changes have not yet been characterized scientifically.

Symptoms

Keloids are very rare in children and the elderly. People with darker skin are mostly affected by keloids. It can occur in men and women of all skin types.

Keloids are most commonly located on the chest, upper back, and shoulders. However, they can appear almost anywhere, such as in surgical scars any place on the body and in the earlobes or other areas that have been pierced for cosmetic purposes.

Common symptoms are-

  • Firm, raised, hard scars.
  • Color that varies from slightly pink to very dark.
  • Tenderness or itching.
  • Continued growth and clawlike projections.

Treatment

Keloids do not require any treatment. However, for cosmetic reasons or to relieve keloid pain or itch, they can be surgically removed or treated with medication.

A new treatment for keloids is to apply a silicone gel preparation over the keloid scar for 12-24 hours each day. This treatment is started three to four weeks after the wound or injury. The gel preparation should be covered with an ace bandage, cloth wrap, or tape and changed every 7-10 days based upon need. Silicone gel is available from your doctor. The gel can be washed and used over each day. With daily use, the keloid will become flatter and smoother within two to twelve months. We do not know how this treatment works. Once they have formed, there is no completely satisfactory treatment for keloids.

Other treatments have included non-antibiotic moisturizing ointments. However, it should be understood that there is no clear answer for keloid and hypertrophic scar formation. Some individuals simply have the tendency to develop keloids and despite surgical laser, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or pharmaceutical agents, the keloids can persist.

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