What are keloids?
Keloids are raised buildups of scar tissue on the surface of the skin. They usually occur where the skin heals after an injury, such as after a burn, wound, puncture, or blemish. They can sometimes grow to be much larger than the injury that caused the scar in the first place. For some individuals, this scar tissue is darker and more pronounced than the surrounding areas of skin. They can form anywhere on the body including the neck, back, shoulders, ears, and chest.
Keloids can be the result of anything that can lead to a scar. This includes a variety of injuries, such as being cut, burned, or having severe acne. They can also develop after you have surgery, tattoos, or a piercing. Keloids tend to appear and grow slowly, sometimes taking 3 months or more before you see the first signs of its formation. Some may also continue growing for years.
Keloids often start out as a raised pink, red, or purple scar that continues to darken over time. By the time it has finished growing, it is usually darker than an individual’s surrounding skin. Keloids also feel different from the rest of the skin– while some may feel softer, others may feel harder. When they are in the process of growing, keloids will often be itchy, be painful to the touch, or tender. This usually subsides once the keloid has finished growing.
What causes keloids?
Keloids are a form of scar formation that can occur after your skin is injured. When your skin experiences trauma, your body will repair it by forming a scar. For some individuals, the scar tissue continues growing even after the wound has finished healing. The additional scar tissue results in a raised portion of the skin, which is called a keloid.
There are a wide variety of skin injuries that can result in a keloid. This includes:
You are more likely to develop a keloid if you are latino, asian, or black; you are pregnant; you have a family history of keloids; or if you are 30 years old or younger. Those with darker pigmentation in their skin are 15-20% more likely to develop keloids when they scar.
How can I prevent keloids?
If you would like to prevent the formation of keloids, or if you are aware that you can develop them, you can take steps to prevent them from happening to begin with. If you’ve developed keloids in the past, there are certain steps you can take to prevent more from developing in the future.
Avoid cosmetic surgery. Although some surgery is necessary for medical reasons, cosmetic surgeries should be avoided if possible. This is because keloids can form as a result of surgical modifications. If you are particularly prone to keloid formation, you may want to rethink cosmetic surgery if it is not needed to improve your health.
Avoid getting tattoos or piercings. Tattoos and piercings are one of the leading causes of keloids, so think carefully if you want to invest more in tattoos and piercings if you are concerned about keloid formation.
Avoid popping pimples or picking your skin. When you have active acne or breakouts on your skin, avoid picking and popping at blemishes. This can further irritate the skin and cause inflammation, which can lead to keloid formation during the skin’s healing process.
How can I treat keloids?
When treating keloids, the goal is to soften, flatten, and shrink the keloid. They can be difficult to get rid of completely and can return and regrow once they are treated. A combination of treatments is often used to provide the best results for keloid removal.
Kenalog/Cortisone Shots. This injection will aid in the shrinkage of the scar to flatten it over a period of time. Although this injection does not remove pigmentation, laser treatments can be administered to eliminate discolouration.
CO2 Laser Therapy. The CO2 laser emits a intense light beam which will surgically remove the keloid. At the same time, blood vessels are cauterized so that there is no bleeding during this process. This treatment will flatten the keloid and can also help eliminate discolouration.
Depending on your needs and condition, your keloid removal treatment will vary from patient to patient. Book a consultation with Dr. Jain today to discuss which treatment option would work best for you.
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