What is a keloid scar?
A keloid scar occurs when scar tissue continues to form after a wound has closed. It extends above the skin and is usually pink or purple. Keloid scars tend to grow over time and the affected area may be tender, itchy, or hurt when touched.
What causes keloid scars?
The exact cause of keloid scars is unknown, although research suggests it may be associated with the cell signals responsible for growth. Typically, keloid scars form as a result of infection or injury to the skin, although hereditary factors may also play a role in their development. In some cases, body piercing may cause keloid scars to form around the site of the piercing. While keloid scars can affect people of all skin types, they are especially prevalent in people of darker skin types. Keloid scars most commonly form on the earlobes, shoulders, chest and back; in rare cases, they may also form on the face.
How are keloid scars diagnosed?
How are keloid scars treated?
Keloid scars cannot always be eliminated; in some cases, they can only be reduced in appearance. Several treatment options are currently available:
- Cortisone injections may be administered on a monthly basis until the keloid scar has been reduced in size. The keloid scar may still be visible following treatment.
- Pulsed dye lasers may be used to flatten keloid scars and lighten their appearance. This course of treatment requires multiple sessions and is not usually covered by insurance.
- Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze keloid scars. Although this will flatten the scars, they may also become darkened.
- Radiation may effectively reduce the appearance of keloid scars.
- Interferons are illness-fighting proteins produced by the body’s immune system. Studies suggest that interferon injections can reduce the appearance of keloid scars, although its long-term results are not yet apparent.
- Fluorouracil is a chemotherapy drug. In some cases, it can be injected into keloid scars to reduce their appearance.
- Silicone sheets can be worn on the site of the keloid scar for several hours a day over the course of a few weeks. Its success varies.
- Surgery may be performed to remove keloid scars. To minimize recurrence rates, this form of treatment must be combined with steroidal injections or radiation.
The exact course of treatment for a keloid scar varies from patient to patient. Your dermatologist will develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific condition and medical history.
To learn more about keloid scars, contact us today to schedule an appointment with our dermatologists.