Keloid Scars:

Keloids are raised, thickened skin areas that form due to an overgrowth of scar tissue. They typically occur at the site of a skin injury, such as a cut, burn, or acne. Keloids can be unsightly, itchy, and uncomfortable and may cause embarrassment or self-consciousness. However, with proper treatment, they can often be reduced in size and improved in appearance.

Keloids are caused by an overgrowth of collagen, a fibrous protein that forms scar tissue. For example, a keloid can form when the body produces too much collagen at the site of a skin injury. It is unclear why some people are more prone to keloid formation than others, but it is thought to be related to genetics, as keloids often run in families.

Risk factors for developing keloids include:

  • Being between the ages of 10 and 30

  • Having darkly pigmented skin

  • Having a family history of keloids

  • Having a history of keloid formation at a previous injury site

  • Having a tendency to form hypertrophic scars (raised, thickened scars that do not extend beyond the borders of the original wound)

Keloids can vary in size and shape and may be smooth or textured. They often have a shiny or waxy appearance and may be pink, red, or brown. Keloids are typically raised above the skin’s surface and can be firm or rubbery to the touch. They may be itchy or painful and can restrict movement if they form over a joint.

Several treatment options are available for keloids, depending on the size and location of the keloid, as well as the individual’s medical history and personal preferences. Treatment options include:

  • Corticosteroid injections: These injections are used to reduce inflammation and shrink the size of the keloid. Multiple injections may be needed over several months.

  • Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the keloid with liquid nitrogen, which can cause the tissue to shrink and reduce in size.

  • Laser therapy uses a specialized laser to break down the scar tissue and encourage new collagen growth.

  • Surgery: In some cases, surgical removal of the keloid may be necessary. However, surgery carries a risk of keloid recurrence and may need to be combined with other treatments, such as corticosteroid injections or radiation therapy.

  • Radiation therapy: This is used to prevent keloid recurrence following surgical removal. Radiation therapy is typically reserved for large or recurring keloids, as it carries a risk of side effects and long-term complications. This is generally done in teaching hospital settings.

While keloids cannot always be prevented, some steps can be taken to minimize the risk of keloid formation following a skin injury. These include:

  • Keeping the wound clean and moist

  • Avoiding unnecessary tension on the wound

  • Using silicone gel or sheets to minimize scarring

  • Applying pressure dressings or silicone gel sheeting to the wound

  • Avoiding piercing or tattooing areas prone to keloid formation

With proper treatment, keloids can often be reduced in size and have an improved appearance, allowing individuals to feel more confident and comfortable.

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