If I’d have to define what a Keloid is, I would say it’s a scar with a bad attitude. You see, scars are the way our skin repairs itself by producing collagen to patch up injuries, but Keloids don’t only cover the injury, they keep growing around and on top of it, and what should be a small scar turns out to be a big, bumpy one.
How do Keloids look?
Keloids tend to be larger than the original site of the injury, usually raised and red in color, and can be painful or itchy. Although they are not harmful, they can create cosmetic concerns, especially if they are formed in very visible areas.
Why are Keloid scars formed?
The exact cause is not known, but it seems that genetics have a big part in it. If your parents develop Keloids, there is a larger probability that you will have them also.
Keloids are not that common in reality, and, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, only occur in about 10% of people, women and men alike. However, African Americans and people with dark colored skin seem to be more prone to them.
Prevention is Key
If you know that you have a tendency to develop Keloids, it is recommended to avoid any unnecessary surgery, such as cosmetic treatments. Piercings are also strongly discouraged, and if your skin is particularly delicate, you might want to avoid any tattoos also.
Treating Recently Formed Scars
Our skin covers our whole body, so unless you live in some sort of bubble, it is almost impossible to keep it from getting damaged. And sometimes surgeries are needed for medical reasons, so there is no way to avoid having your skin cut up.
However, if an injury is treated promptly, the chances of developing a Keloid can be reduced. Once the wound has healed, or any remaining stitches have been removed, it is time to take care of your skin.
Silicone gel pads are a popular option. However, they need to cover the scar for many hours every day, which can be a hassle. Topical silicone gels have been used as a replacement with satisfactory results
Creams with onion extract as an ingredient, such as Mederma, are also used with great results. However, Keloids can be quite aggressive and sometimes you need to use a silicon dressing along the Mederma cream to get a noticieable decrease in scar height.
Treating Old Keloid Scars
If your scar is aged, you will probably need a stronger treatment to correct it. The best way is to get injections of concentrated cortisone right into the scar. They are repeated at two to three-week intervals and cause the scar to become softer. The cortisone melts the excess collagen -the fibrous tissue in the scar- which reduces its size.
Another option is to have the keloid scar surgically excised, but when you do this you create another injury, and if you are prone to keloids, removing one might create a new one. To help prevent that, concentrated cortisone is injected into the surgical site.
One method that has a significant success rate is having a combination of laser treatment and local steroid injection. The laser targets the blood vessels in the collagen in the scar, dilating them and getting them ready for the steroid injection. It also warms up the tissue, which makes the injection much more comfortable. The steroids reduce the production of collagen and also inhibit inflammatory factors.
Keloidal scar tissue can continue to develop for several months, so taking quick action is necessary. Don’t waste any time and treat your wound as soon as it heals to prevent any further damage to your skin.