Have you ever noticed scars on your parents’ or grandparents’ arms, from a smallpox vaccination? A slightly raised, bumpy scar that is visibly larger than a regular scab or wound? Well, what you see is a type of scar called a keloid. While the growth may look disturbing, keloids are not cancerous.
Let’s break down keloids, how they form, and how to treat them.
What Is A Keloid?
A keloid is a raised or exaggerated scar, that often grows much larger than the wound that caused the scar itself. While most keloids are the result of a scar or injury, sometimes keloids can form even without injury – these are called “spontaneous keloids.”
Keloids can appear anywhere on the body including the arms and feet, but are genrally found on the ears, neck, shoulder, chest and back
In terms of size, keloids can range from inch-long scars to scars as large as a football. Large keloids tend to form on large patches of skin, like the shoulders and back.
What Are Its Symptoms?
It is pretty easy to notice when a keloid begins to develop, even though it takes a while for the scar to appear in its full form.
Appearance: Most keloids begin as purplish, pinkish or reddish scars which are slightly raised. On the earlobe, it is usually round or egg-shaped. On other parts of the body, like the chest, arms, legs or neck, it tends to take the shape of the scar with a raised, flat surface, before growing out. Keloids also tend to get darker over time.
Growth: Keloids appear slowly, and grow slowly as well. It can take anywhere from 3 months to a year to properly notice the first signs of a keloid. Most keloids tend to grow slowly, and can spread for weeks or months. At times, it can even grow for years. However, some keloids can grow quickly – tripling in size in a matter of months.
Touch & feel: Upon touch, Keloids feel different from the surrounding skin. They tend to feel soft, dough-like or rubbery, and are firm. Keloids are solid and remain fixed without moving. Some keloids that appear on the neck, stomach or ear may hang by a stalk, which can move when touched.
Itching, pain or tenderness: In the growth phase keloids can be itchy and cause pain – sometimes even a sharp, shooting pain concentrated in the area.
What Causes Keloids?
There is no proper scientific explanation of why keloids occur and develop – it is an overgrowth of skin after a cut, injury, or surgery. Keloids form because the normal process of scarring goes into overdrive.
The real scientific reasons for this remain unknown – though it is interesting to note that keloids are a distinctly human condition. Animals are not known to develop keloid scars.
Keloids can also affect people who have a family history, and tend to occur between the ages of 10 and 30. While they can appear later than 30, children below 10 years of age rarely get keloid scars.
Types Of Keloid Scars
Some of the varied types of keloid scars are
How To Get Rid Of Keloids
Dermatologists may recommend multiple treatments or a combination of treatments for keloids. You need to address what you are trying to achieve through the treatment.
Between 50% and 80% of keloids shrink after being injected. Many of these keloids, however, will regrow within 5 years. For better results, dermatologists often add another therapy to the treatment plan.
If you are suffering from keloid pain, consult a dermatologist at the earliest. Find a qualified dermatologist for all your skin problems on www.skinandhairacademy.in