What are Keloids?

A Keloid is a type of raised scar that is the result of abnormal wound healing. Symptoms of a keloid include redness in the localized area, scar tissue that grows larger overtime, and an itchy patch of skin. Though individuals may experience discomfort and possible irritation, Keloids are harmless. Keloids can form on large areas of the body, but are most commonly found on the chest, shoulders, earlobes, and cheeks. 


Keloids can develop from various skin injuries such as acne scars, burns, chickenpox scars, ear piercing, scratches, or surgical incision sites.  Approximately 10% of people experience keloid scarring. 


People with darker skin tones are more likely to develop keloids. There is no known cause for this, as the pathogenesis for Keloids continues to remain unclear. However, some risk factors associated with Keloid are being of Asian descent, being of Latino descent, being pregnant, or being younger than 30 years of age. There is likely to be a genetic component behind Keloid. A study suggests that a gene known as AHNAK is linked to Keloids, as people with the gene are more prone to scarring than those who don’t. 


While Keloids are benign and don’t raise any health concerns, treatment is done for cosmetic concerns. Consider trying the following home remedies before seeking professional treatment: 


  1. Crush 3-4 aspirin tablets, mix them with enough water to form a paste and apply to the wound site. Let it sit for an hour or two and then rinse. Repeat once daily until the desired result is achieved. 
  2. Crush 2-3 fresh garlic gloves and apply the garlic paste to the wound area. Let it sit for 15 minutes, rinse, and then apply moisturizer. Do not continue this treatment if the garlic burns your skin. 
  3. Dab raw honey to the keloid area, and rinse off later when the site gets sticky. Reapply as often as needed until you get your desired result. 


If you decide to seek medical care, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive treatment such as silicone pads, pressure dressings, or injections for a newly developed scar. These options take at least three months to work. However, if the keloid is large or has been around for a long time, surgical removal may be recommended. Cryosurgery, a process that freezes the keloid with liquid nitrogen, is an incredibly effective method. Corticosteroid injections will likely be done after surgery to reduce inflammation and the risk of recurring scar formation. Laser treatment may also be done, as the high beam of light gives the scarred region a more smoother and toned appearance. However, laser treatment may make your keloids worse and aggravate the scarring and redness. 


If you are aware you have a genetic predisposition to Keloids, there are ways to prevent them from occurring: 


  1. Avoid cosmetic surgery – surgery modification to the skin may cause Keloids. If surgery is necessary, inform your surgeon so that they can implement techniques that will reduce the likelihood of a Keloid. 
  2. Both tattoos and piercings can increase chances of keloid development – Get a small amount of tattoo work done or apply the piercing in a test area first. If the area starts to thicken, you’ll be aware that it could cause a keloid. Wearing a pressure garment may prevent thickening; consult a local dermatologist to get fitted for one. 
  3. Avoid skin picking and pimple popping – Inflammation from popping acne can lead to Keloids. 
  4. Follow proper wound care – Wash the area immediately with soap and water, bandage the area with sterile petrolatum gauze, gently cleanse the wound every day until it heals, and protect the wounded skin from the sun by applying sunscreen with SPF daily. 

El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.

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