Have you ever observed that occasionally a minor scar from acne or a burn, that serves as a memory of a previous mishap transforms into something extremely unpleasant and unsightly, leaving you wondering how that happened?
Keloids are the medical term for this unpleasant scar tissue. Scars can have a wide range of textures, hues, and dimensions. With time, many scars shrink, smooth out, and lose some of their prominence. However, for 10% of the population; even minor wounds can result in scars that are abnormally big, elevated, and dark in color.
How to identify a keloid scar
Characteristics of keloids include:
- Emerge and develop gradually: It could take 3 months to a year before the early keloid signs manifest. After then, the growing process takes some weeks or months. Occasionally, they continue to grow slowly for years.
- Begin as a red/ pink /purple elevated scar: A flattened scar that is raised is typical of a keloid. The hue typically darkens over time. Usually, the border is darker than the interior, and eventually, it matches the color of the person's skin.
- Feels distinct from the skin around it. Some keloids are soft and doughy in feel. Others may be stiff and rubbery and different from the surrounding skin.
- Induce discomfort, itchiness, or soreness. A number of keloids may be very irritating, itchy, or unpleasant to the touch as they begin to form.
Every part of the body is susceptible to keloids. Most commonly, they occur on the shoulders, neck, chest, ears, and back. A size range of less than an inch to more than 12 inches is possible.
A keloid develops when the skin reacts excessively to an injury. Even little wounds have the potential to develop keloids. The most common reasons of keloids are the following:
- Burns or skin injury
- Incisions from surgery
- Cuts or wounds
- Bug bites
- Skin problems like acne, infections like chickenpox or skin conditions that leave scars on various areas of skin
- Scars Including those caused by shaving, tattoos, and body piercings
Hypertrophic scars vs keloids
The difference between keloids and hypertrophic scars is quiet simple as keloids spread outside the boundaries of the initial damage, do not regress, and appear larger than the original wound. While the hypertrophic scars are present within the region of injury/wound and may regress with time.
Keloid scars treatment
The following therapies are used for keloid scar removal. You can get benefit from one or a variety of strategies. Keloids can return even after a proper flattening or excision and become bigger than before. You might also create new ones with time.
- Taking care of injuries: Compression dressings tapes made from stretchy clothes or plastic or other materials may be the first course of treatment for keloids. After surgical procedures also this approach is utilised to eliminate keloids. By applying pressure to the injury as it heals, the intention is to lessen or avoid a scar. For such dressings to be effective, they must be used for 12 - 24 hours per day for minimum 4 months. This approach may be extremely uncomfortable.
- Medication injected: Your doctor may try injecting cortisone or steroids into a smaller keloid to lessen its thickness. You'll probably require consistent shots of injections lasting up to six months before the scar flattens. Potential side effects of corticosteroids include, spider veins, skin shrinkage, and a change in skin tone (hypo- or hyperpigmentation).
- Surgical removal: A dermatologist can remove the keloid surgically. It's crucial to note that, although appearing to be a permanent remedy, almost all keloids reappear following this therapy. Most patients need additional treatment following surgery to lower the possibility of a keloid recurring and probability to reduce keloids is minimal.
- Therapy with laser: Flattening of larger keloids can be done with pulsed-dye laser therapy or laser treatment. Additionally, this method has helped to eliminate keloids and lessen itching. Pulsed dye laser therapy is delivered across a series of sessions, with 4–8 weeks separating each session. Your doctor could advise combining laser therapy with cortisone injections. Potentially harmful outcomes comprise hypo- or hyperpigmentation, blisters, and crusting, which are more common in people with darker skin.
- Therapy with radiation: Shrinkage or minimization of the scar tissue may be aided by low-level X-ray radiation used alone or following surgical excision of a keloid. Perhaps additional treatments are required. Skin problems and cancer over the long term are potential radiation therapy side effects.
- Cold compress: Freezing small keloids with liquid nitrogen may shrink or eradicate them (cryotherapy). Perhaps additional treatments are required. Blisters, discomfort, and loss of skin tone are all possible consequences of cryotherapy (hypopigmentation).
- Using corticosteroid cream: Itching may be reduced by using a corticosteroid cream with a prescription.
Home remedies and lifestyle choices
Here are some tips for self-care for keloid scars:
- Treat your wound as instructed. Compression bandages can be painful, and wound care can take a lot of time. Try to follow your doctor's instructions as precisely as possible; these actions are crucial to preventing keloid development removing the scar discomfort.
- Prevent further damage to the area. Avoid rubbing the keloid with clothes or causing it any further friction or damage.
- Use sun protection on your skin. Your keloid may become more obvious if the colour changes as a result of exposure to sunlight. That modification may last forever. Cover the keloid or liberally apply sunscreen to your skin to protect it before going outside.
- Use a corticosteroid cream. This kind of over-the-counter lotion can help reduce itching.
- Put silicone gel on. Itching may be reduced by applying silicone gel without a prescription.
Getting Rid of Keloid Growth: What Do You Need to Do?
- If you are susceptible to keloid formation, it is best to avoid plastic procedures, tattoos, body piercing, etc.
- In order to speed up the wound healing process after a given accident, you need to start treating the wound right away. Petroleum jelly treatment, frequent wound cleansing, and bandage wrapping with compression, if possible, will keep the region moist.
- If you need surgery, talk to your surgeon about less invasive or non-invasive procedures.
It is advisable to take precautions to avoid keloids as soon as possible post an injury, surgery, or body piercing because they are challenging to treat. Those who are susceptible to keloids may want to completely refrain from getting tattoos and body piercings. Whether someone needs surgery for whatever reason, they should let their doctor know if they have ever had keloids so that treatment may start right away following the procedure.
Keloids may not be harmful to your health, but they can be mentally and emotionally draining. There are some therapies available, but none of them are effective.
Q. Are Keloid Scars communicable?
Ans. keloid scars are not at all communicable. You personally experienced a skin injury that led to this, and it will not spread through touch.
Q. Are keloids harmful?
Ans. They are not harmful, no. They typically appear at the location of a prior skin damage and are easily treatable.
Q. Will surgery be required to remove the keloid?
Ans. If the keloid is large and does not get smaller with home therapies, you could need surgery. To gain further insight into the matter, speak with your doctor.