Keloids are scars that do not stop. Or better said, they are scars that start after the injury, and continue to spread beyond the wound site. The main difference between keloid scars and other types of scars, such as hypertrophic scars is their tendency to spread to areas that weren’t affected by an injury. They can also appear spontaneously on the skin, or sometimes they are the end result of inflammation. Burns, body piercing are also possible causes for keloid scars.
Who gets them and where do they appear?
Keloids and keloid scars can develop almost anywhere on the body. They rarely develop on the face, but are common problem that emerges on the earlobe, chest, back, and shoulders. They are common for both men and women, but women are more prone to keloids. That has nothing to do with skin, but more to the lifestyle of women, who have tendency of earlobe and body piercing. Keloids form on all types of skin, but are more common in people with dark skin color.
How can you treat keloid scars?
There are several options and methods one can reduce the appearance of keloid scars. The most effective way is to combine several methods. The following are the options you can use to treat keloid scars.
– Local steroids or cortisone injections are safe way to treat keloids. They are injected directly into the keloid, once every 2 to 6 weeks. While they can reduce and flatten keloids, they do carry certain risks of side effects such as pigment changes.
– Occlusive dressings are practical method and usually most patients choose them over other methods. They include silicone gel (patients wear them for months), compression earrings and other types of pressure dressings.
– Surgery is an effective method, but they do carry high recurrence rate. The worst part is that the recurring scar is usually even larger than the previously treated one.
– As a post surgery method, many experts suggest radiotherapy. While there are concerns regarding the carcinogenic properties of radiotherapy, the risk of anything wrong happening are very low.
– Another common method is the use of laser. Unlike hypertrophic scars where the use of laser is large, patients rarely choose the laser as a valuable method to treat keloid scars. Further researches are needed in order to determine the success and recurrence rate with the use of lasers.
– To stop keloids from growing, while they are in their early stage, the best option is cryotherapy. Combined with steroids, cryotherapy is the best and most effective way to treat keloid scars. The only possible side effect is hypopigmentation.