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Keloids

Keloid scar; Scar - keloid

 

A keloid is a growth of extra scar tissue. It occurs where the skin has healed after an injury.

Causes

 

Keloids can form after skin injuries from:

  • Acne
  • Burns
  • Chickenpox
  • Ear or body piercing
  • Minor scratches
  • Cuts from surgery or trauma
  • Vaccination sites

Keloids are most common in people younger than 30. Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are more prone to developing keloids. Keloids often run in families. Sometimes, a person may not recall what injury caused a keloid to form.

 

Symptoms

 

A keloid may be:

  • Flesh-colored, red, or pink
  • Located over the site of a wound or injury
  • Lumpy or ridged
  • Tender and itchy
  • Irritated from friction such as rubbing on clothing

A keloid will tan darker than the skin around it if exposed to sun during the first year after it forms. The darker color may not go away.

 

Exams and Tests

 

Your doctor will look at your skin to see if you have a keloid. A skin biopsy may be done to rule out other types of skin growths (tumors).

 

Treatment

 

Keloids often DO NOT need treatment. If the keloid bothers you, these things can be done to reduce the size:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatments
  • Radiation
  • Surgical removal
  • Silicone gel or patches

These treatments, especially surgery, sometimes cause the keloid scar to become larger.

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

Keloids usually are not harmful to your health, but they may affect how you look.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your health care provider if:

  • You develop keloids and want to have them removed or reduced
  • You develop new symptoms

 

Prevention

 

When you are in the sun:

  • Cover a keloid that is forming with a patch or adhesive bandage.
  • Use sunblock.

Continue to follow these steps for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adults. Children may need up to 18 months of prevention.

Imiquimod cream may help prevent keloids from forming after surgery. The cream also prevents keloids from returning from after they are removed.

 

 

References

Berman B, Huo R, Viera M. Keloids. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 116.

Patterson JW. Disorders of collagen. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2016:chap 11.

 
  • Keloid above the ear

    Keloid above the ear - illustration

    Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that follow skin injuries. Keloids may appear after such minor trauma as ear piercing. Dark skinned individuals tend to form keloids more readily than lighter skinned individuals.

    Keloid above the ear

    illustration

  • Keloid, pigmented

    Keloid, pigmented - illustration

    Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that follow skin injuries. Keloids may appear after such minor trauma as ear piercing. Dark-skinned individuals tend to form keloids more readily than lighter skinned individuals. These patches of keloid have become darkly pigmented.

    Keloid, pigmented

    illustration

  • Keloid, on the foot

    Keloid, on the foot - illustration

    A keloid is a type of exaggerated (hypertrophic) scar that usually appears following an obvious injury. Keloids may expand beyond the margin of the scar to include normal skin.

    Keloid, on the foot

    illustration

    • Keloid above the ear

      Keloid above the ear - illustration

      Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that follow skin injuries. Keloids may appear after such minor trauma as ear piercing. Dark skinned individuals tend to form keloids more readily than lighter skinned individuals.

      Keloid above the ear

      illustration

    • Keloid, pigmented

      Keloid, pigmented - illustration

      Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that follow skin injuries. Keloids may appear after such minor trauma as ear piercing. Dark-skinned individuals tend to form keloids more readily than lighter skinned individuals. These patches of keloid have become darkly pigmented.

      Keloid, pigmented

      illustration

    • Keloid, on the foot

      Keloid, on the foot - illustration

      A keloid is a type of exaggerated (hypertrophic) scar that usually appears following an obvious injury. Keloids may expand beyond the margin of the scar to include normal skin.

      Keloid, on the foot

      illustration

    Tests for Keloids

     

       

      Review Date: 10/24/2016

      Reviewed By: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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