Some scars grow lumpy and larger than the wound they are healing. This can happen to anybody, however it is more common in people with dark skin. The body's tissue naturally heals itself when it is damaged. This healing process can cause scars to appear.
Collagen gathers around the damage and builds up to help the wound seal over. The resulting scar usually fades over time, becoming smoother and less noticeable. However, some scars don't stop growing. They 'invade' the surrounding healthy skin and become bigger than the original wound. These are known as keloid scars.
A keloid scar is an overgrown scar that can spread outside the original area of skin damage. Keloid scars are shiny and hairless, they're raised above the surrounding skin, and can feel hard and rubbery. Keloids affect around 10-15% of all wounds. They can appear anywhere on the body but usually form on the shoulders, head and neck.
They can last for years and sometimes don't form until months or years after the initial injury. New keloid scars are sometimes red or purple. They're not usually painful, but some people feel embarrassed or upset if they think the scar is disfiguring them.
Who gets keloid scars?
People with dark skin get keloids much more easily than people with fairer skin, and it's common in people with black skin, They're most common between the ages of 10 and 30, and can run in families.
Keloid scars can develop after even a very minor injury. Burns, acne scars and wounds that get infected are particularly likely to form keloids.
Can I reduce the risk?
You can't stop a keloid from happening, however you can avoid any deliberate cuts or breaks in the skin, such as tattoos or piercings, including on the earlobes.
What is the treatment?
There are several treatments available and we will help you determine the specific solution best suited for you. Available treatments that may help flatten a keloid include:
- steroid injections
- applying steroid-impregnated tape to the area for 12 hours a everyday.
- applying a silicone sheet to the area at night for several months.
Other options are:
- freezing early keloids with liquid nitrogen to stop them from growing.
- laser treatment to lessen redness.
Please contact Atlanta Medical Institute today! We make every effort to accommodate same day appointments and strive to make our office your neighborhood clinic.