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Keloid On-Ear: Causes and Treatments

Keloid on-ear is a skin lesion, very similar to scars but of abnormal size. It appears as a result of trauma, burns, abrasions and wounds or eventually after surgery. Although, keloid on-ear, which form due to piercings and earrings, is a common issue. 

They appear as an excessive swelling of the earlobe, bright red, shiny and hairless. The term was coined in 1806 by a French dermatologist, Jean Louis Alibert, due to the similarity of some keloids to crab claws.

Generally, keloid on-ear is not painful, and it doesn’t lead to hearing loss. However, it cannot be denied that they are unsightly. 

People who suffer from it can develop severe personal and social insecurities, feel inadequate or even isolate themselves to avoid explaining their appearance.

Keloid in general:

  • keloid raise the skin more than 4 millimetres
  • they are stationary
  • they are pink, purple or flesh-coloured
  • it can be itchy
  • grow over time

If you get a keloid on an earlobe, it will probably be a complex, round mass.

keloid on ear
Source: researchgate

Anyone can get keloids, but they are common in people under 30. People with darker skin tones are also 15 times more likely to contract keloids.

If you think you have a keloid, please consult our clinic. We can offer expert advice and tell you which treatment is more suitable for you.

What Causes Keloid On-Ear To Form?

Piercing keloid is caused by the body’s attempt to produce the collagen needed to repair the new hole, and excessive production leads to the formation of a scar-like, the so-called keloid.

Not taking care of the piercing can only make the situation worse. Sometimes, however, it can happen that the keloid forms regardless of all the attention paid to your new Billie Eilish-style navel piercing.

Your immune system may not love your piercing as much as you do and try to heal the wound in every way. Therefore, the affected area could be inflamed as the piercing hole tries to close and eject the jewellery.

How To Cure Keloid?

Please do NOT try to squeeze the piercing keloid like a pimple. Further injuring the skin would only worsen the growth of the keloid.

The best solution is, of course, to see a specialist: a small – and non-invasive – surgery may be needed to remove the scar or steroid injections to decrease the overproduction of collagen. For older scars, however, the laser is the right therapy.

What happens if you choose not to remove the piercing keloid? Nothing to worry about immediately for your health, but these scars can be annoying and even limit your freedom of movement if placed in certain areas of the body.

Are Hypertrophic And Keloid Scars The Same Thing?

Hypertrophic scars are not the same as keloid scars. Both are caused by excess scar tissue, but keloids grow beyond the wound and surrounding skin.

What does a hypertrophic scar look like?

A hypertrophic scar is thicker than a normal scar. It does not go beyond the wound that caused it.

Hypertrophic scars are usually:

  • raised less than 4mm above the surrounding skin
  • pink or red

They can also be itchy or painful. After an initial period of growth, hypertrophic scars can flatten and shrink over time.

Scars can form anywhere on your body but are more common with nose and ear cartilage piercings. Cartilage doesn’t heal like other tissues.

Hypertrophic scars are also common on the chest, upper back, and shoulders. Skin piercings in these areas may be more prone to scarring.

Typically, hypertrophic scars are harmless. They are more of an aesthetic problem. Some people take additional steps to make them less noticeable.

Check some of our London Keloid Scar Clinic before&after pictures:

Is Removing Keloid On-Ear Harmful?

As we explained earlier, keloid results from abnormal scarring of the skin. 

Consequently, removal by surgery is counterproductive, given the formation of new scars. In most cases, the keloid in the ears or other parts of the body returns in a more severe form after removal. It is no wonder that many patients who underwent cosmetic surgery treatments to remove it returned a year later with the same problem.

So there is no remedy for keloids in the ears? Partly. Over the years, different pharmacological treatments have been developed, mainly based on cortisone, to reduce its size and thickness.

Cortisone injections are given once a month intralesional and are intended to flatten the swelling skin. Generally, cortisone therapy is the best treatment for ear keloids.

Another particularly effective solution is laser surgery. This procedure aims to flatten the keloid by suppressing the fibroblasts, but recurrence phenomena are always expected.

In critical cases, when keloids develop close to the joints area, their appearance can make some basic movements difficult. In these cases, we intervene through drugs but with a cycle of massages that aim to make the skin more elastic.

Piercing Bump vs Keloid

It appears like a bubble next to your beloved piercing, spoiling your enthusiasm. It is the keloid, and you must take care of it carefully but do not panic.

It will not have serious repercussions on your health. Despite this, try not to give in to the temptation to squeeze it as you would – and shouldn’t – with a normal pimple.

To treat it, in fact, you need to see a specialist: patience and a routine dedicated to taking care of your ear piercing.

Piercing keloid: what exactly is it?

Piercing keloid identikit is an area of irregular fibrous tissue, which forms on the skin after trauma, wounds, or a simple piercing.

It looks like a pimple on the surface, but, in reality, it is scar tissue. Be careful, therefore, not to confuse the keloid with a simple scar because these are two imperfections to be treated in a decidedly different way.

Both, in fact, are solid masses caused by excess scar tissue that forms when healing from a wound. The keloid, however, can grow and cover a larger area of skin, if not correctly diagnosed, becoming a problem not only aesthetic.

However, in the case of scars, you do not have to worry: the only area involved will be the wound.

Prevention And Prophylaxis

Can the appearance of keloids be avoided? Unfortunately not. The most effective form of prevention is to avoid undergoing unnecessary surgery, especially cosmetic surgery or, in the case of ear keloids, piercing.

The phenomenon of keloids appears with the same frequency in men and women, and adolescence. It is also a hereditary phenomenon, so we renew our recommendation to avoid unnecessary interventions if there are previous stories in the family.

Furthermore, as soon as the first symptoms appear, it is crucial to intervene promptly.

Prevention

The best treatment for keloid is prevention: each of us should avoid unnecessary trauma or surgery (including simple ear piercings, tattoos and cosmetic surgery). In addition, any skin disorders – such as acne and infections – should be treated immediately, therefore starting from the appearance of the first symptoms to minimize inflamed areas.

Furthermore, to prevent the keloid scar from enlarging and causing discomfort, we recommend the daily or multi-daily application of nourishing and antioxidant creams.

To conclude, it is impossible to dictate a generic prophylactic line against keloids: the only necessary precaution is avoiding unnecessary interventions or trauma that could degenerate into non-reversible scars such as keloids.

Treatment

Most likely, the standard surgical removal of the keloid would induce a new lesion, thus laying the foundations for the formation of a further scarring process (with the appearance of a more extensive keloid scar than the previous one). To avoid such consequences, very often, the doctor offers the patient a conservative or alternative approach.

The possibilities of intervention to improve the skin affected by keloid are:

This practice, not excessively painful, is relatively safe, and the benefits are excellent. Typically, the patient must undergo a cortisone injection per month: after a few courses of treatment, the keloid is flattened, and its presence is undoubtedly less conspicuous. 70% of keloid patients treated with cortisone injections are satisfied with the outcome.

  • Laser therapy:

A widely used method, the laser flattens the keloid making it less visible over time. The laser treatment induces the progressive regression of the keloid through the suppression of the proliferation of fibroblasts. Although the surgery is effective, safe and not very painful, it is necessary to undergo several treatments (which are relatively expensive) to obtain satisfactory results.

  • Fluorouracil injections: 

Some researchers believe that topical injection of this chemotherapeutic agent can be used alone or combined with corticosteroid injections or laser.

  • Silicone sheets (e.g. silicone hydrogel):

Although the prolonged application (for a few weeks) of silicone sheets directly on the keloid is not a guarantee of success to remove such lesions, some experts are confident and propose this type of treatment to the patient. The results are variable: generally, this approach is indicated for managing symptoms (itching, discomfort) in patients with stable keloids and preventing relapses, rather than for the effective keloid treatment.

  • Cryotherapy: 

This method consists in freezing the keloid lesion with liquid nitrogen. The limit of this treatment is hypopigmentation (discolouration of the skin in which there is a progressive loss of tone of the same), which makes this procedure impossible for people with dark skin.

  • Radiation:

Some doctors propose radiation to flatten or obscure the keloid. Although the result is good, radiotherapy is not advisable as the long-term side effects (increased risk of skin cancer) far outweigh the benefits.


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