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How common are keloids? Can I prevent them?

Keloid scarring happens where a skin injury ‘over’ heals. The collagen within the skin is produced to such an extent that a bumpy appearance to the skin occurs, sometimes far outgrowing the site of the original scar.

It’s important to understand that keloid scarring is a condition which someone will experience, usually for life. The skin trauma itself does not cause it, but rather a genetic predisposition to experience this condition. Keloid is a skin response to a cut or trauma to the skin, and it is not known why one person will experience keloid scarring and not another. However, keloid scarring tends to be more prevalent in those with darker skin tones and for those with a family history of this complaint. If someone has keloid scarring, however, there are ways of preventing keloid growth, as well as after the removal of keloid scars.

  1. After ear piercing – pay close attention to your ears if you have recently had them pierced. If you notice the skin on or around the piercing start to thicken, you might be able to prevent a keloid by removing the earring and wearing a pressure earring instead. You would need to wear the pressure earring for at least 12 to 20 hours per day for around six months. These can be found online, or our specialist keloid practitioners can advise you of where to source them. If you are prone to keloid scarring, it is advisable to avoid having your ears pierced and opting for clip-on jewellery instead.
  2. Tattoos, body piercing or cosmetic surgery – you will need to try a test patch before any of these treatments can go ahead. Certain cosmetic treatments which involve the use of a needle or damage to the skin can cause keloid scarring. Letting your tattooist, body piercing therapist or practitioner know you are prone to keloid will help them manage your treatment and try a small area of treatment first. If the skin starts to thicken, you will know that the work could cause a keloid. Wearing a pressure garment can help prevent thickening skin from turning in to a keloid scar. You would need to wear it as soon as you notice your skin thickening to be effective. Your keloid scar specialist here at The London Keloid Scar Clinic can advise you on the best pressure garments available. Other treatments such as steroid injections can help to prevent a keloid from forming.
  3. Surgery – it is vital to tell your surgeon that you are susceptible to keloid scarring before any surgery occurs. Your surgeon can then apply any techniques which might help reduce the risk of a keloid forming after the surgery. If you notice a surgical scar begin to thicken, arrange an appointment with one of our keloid specialists as soon as possible, so we can advise on the best course of action and treatments available to help prevent a keloid from developing.
  4. Injured skin – following an injury, the right wound care can significantly reduce the risk of keloid scarring developing. Having the following items in your medical kit could be a great help should you suffer a skin injury:-
    • Sterile petrolatum gauze
    • Hydrogel wound dressing
    • Silicone sheets or gel
    • A high-factor sunscreen of at least SPF 30 broad-spectrum protection with water resistance

Wound care

  • Wash the injured area immediately with soap and water, keeping the wound as clean as possible to reduce scarring. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide, alcohol-based products or iodine. These can dry and further damage the skin. Saline solution or mild soapy water will cleanse the wound without drying.
  • Bandage the wound with a sterile petrolatum gauze to keep it moist.
  • Gently cleanse the wound every day until it heals. Do not scrub or rub at the wound, as this can cause a scar.
  • Protect the wound from the sun. Studies have shown that UV light from the sun can increase the risk of keloid scarring and darken the scar. Prevent sun exposure by using a dressing or covering with clothing. Use sunscreen at all times, as keloid scarring can take months, if not years to develop, after the original skin wound.
  • As soon as the wound heals, begin to use silicone sheets or gel. This can help prevent keloids from forming and reduce the size of existing scars.
  • Should you be concerned at any time that a keloid scar is forming, contact us at the London Keloid Scar Clinic to arrange an appointment, so we can help you to prevent a scar from developing with our range of treatments.

Keloid scars can appear after any skin trauma, and if you know that you are prone to them, it’s worth taking extra care not to harm your skin with anything that could injure your skin. Prevention is far better than treating a keloid, although modern techniques and products have come leaps and bounds in recent years

If you are at all concerned that you might be getting a keloid scar, do not hesitate to call our team of London keloid removal specialists to address the issue quickly and help you prevent a keloid from forming.

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