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Myths and facts about keloids you should know

You saw a bump on your ear piercing and you are scared it is a keloid?  You may be right or wrong.

Do you even know what keloids are?  Whether yes or no, you still need to continue reading, because this article gives you all details you need to know about keloids; what they are, their causes, symptoms, how they can be diagnosed, what are true about keloids, what are not, and how to prevent and treat keloids at home and professionally.

Shall we?

What are keloids?

Keloids are abnormal, smooth, raised overgrowth of scar tissue that forms at the site of a skin injury.  Fibrous tissue called scar tissue is formed over an injury to repair and protect it.  When the scar tissues grow excessively, they form a firm hard growth called keloids.

In rare cases, keloids may form in places where no visible injury has occurred on the skin.  They are commonly seen on the earlobes, shoulders, upper back, chest, face, and hands, but they can occur anywhere.  Keloids affect both sexes but are more common among women with pierced ears. Research also proved that Black people and people below the age of 30 are at more risk of developing keloids.

Causes of keloids

Keloids can form after a skin injury from:

  • Burns
  • Acne
  • Vaccination sites
  • Scratches
  • Cuts
  • Chickenpox
  • Insect bites
  • Tattoos and piercings

Despite all the above causes, keloids are primarily caused by the overproduction of collagen.  After your body has been injured, it tries to heal by forming extra collagen.  However, in keloids this process does not stop, so collagen keeps increasing and the scar continues to form.

Symptoms of keloids

Certain signs will reveal that the raised skin on an injury is not just a scar but keloids.  They include:

•A raised lumpy area on the skin

•An itchy patch of skin

•An area of the skin that is pink, red, purple, or your flesh color.

How to diagnose keloids

You should not just conclude that every hypertrophic scar on your skin is keloid, it is best your dermatologist confirms that for you.

The doctor will perform a visual examination of the keloid scar.  To rule out other conditions, your doctor may want to perform a biopsy.  This involves taking a small sample of your skin tissue from the scarred area for analysis to check for cancerous cells.  

Myths about keloids

Are keloids are cancerous?

No, keloids are not cancerous nor contagious.  Having keloids does not mean you have cancer and you can’t transmit it to another person.  

Can rubber bands remove keloids?

No, rubber bands cannot remove keloids but worsen the scar.  You might have seen some DIY videos and blogs on the internet claiming rubber bands can remove keloids, those are misleading because they are just myths with no facts.

Keloids are overgrown scars that exceed the original injury to the skin, they can be painful, they can itch, if you believe you can put a rubber band around the base of the scar, choking off the blood supply to cut it off, you are going to cause inflammation and another tension on the scar, leading to another injury, which can trigger the keloids to get bigger, get worse, lead to infections, and even bacteria.

Are all bumps on piercings keloids? 

No, not all bumps on your ear or nose piercings are keloids.  Just because piercings can cause keloids do not mean that bump on your nose is a keloid.  Keloids grow beyond the original injury while piercing bumps are scars formed on the site of the piercing injury and do not go beyond.

Can Keloids be removed permanently?

No, keloids cannot be removed permanently.  You can only flatten or reduce them.  

Facts about keloids

Is keloid hereditary?

Keloids have a genetic component, which means there is a high tendency you having keloids if one or both of your parents have them.

Are Keloids  different from normal mature scar

They are different in size and composition from normal mature scars, they are usually darker than the normal skin color.

Do Keloids  show up immediately

They can appear for  3 months or more after your skin is injured.  Some may continue to grow for years, becoming itchy or sore.

Do Keloids appear more often in dark-skinned people

People with dark skin, of African descent, Latinos, and Asians are more prone to keloids. According to a study, keloid “is the fifth most common skin disease in adult black patients in the United Kingdom”

Can every scar lead to keloids?

Not everyone who gets a scar will develop keloids. If you have keloid-prone skin, however, anything that can cause keloids may lead to keloids.

Are Keloids painful?

Keloids are painful because the sensory nerves are being compressed and squeezed by the keloids, so as they are growing, they tend to grow outwardly, squeezing those nerves.

Treatments for keloids

There are many ways to treat keloids, although these treatments can’t get rid of them permanently, they are targeted at reducing their size and appearance.  Your doctor knows the most suitable treatment for your keloids.  These treatments include:

Silicone gel

Silicone is one of the most commonly used scar remedies and has been known to help shrink some raised and keloid scars.  A sheet of silicone gel is worn on the affected areas continuously for months.

Steroids injections

Steroids injections help to flatten the keloids and reduce inflammation by breaking the bonds between collagen fibers.

Pressure

Keloids that are present on the earlobes can shrink significantly with the use of a special earring, this method has been proven to be effective.  This earring must be used appropriately to get desired results.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze keloids.  This method helps in fattening the keloids.

Surgery

Surgery may be used to remove keloids, however, it is dangerous because cutting keloids can trigger the formation of a larger keloid.  Injecting steroids or applying compression to the wound site for months is found to be useful.

Other forms of treatment include radiation and laser treatment.

Can keloid be removed at home?

Well, you might have seen many blog posts, videos, and other content on how some home ingredients can remove keloid scars and tricks to remove them yourself.

Trying to remove your keloids at home will be the most dangerous step to take.  Unlike other scars that form on the site of the injury, keloids spread beyond, this means “keloid scars are not as the result of the injury alone but due to a combination of genetics”, said Dr.Salinda Johnson, a board-certified dermatologist at London Keloid Scar Clinic.

This is the reason the removal of keloid scars needs to be done by medical experts, using clinically proven methods and treatments.

Did you know?  Keloid scars can reoccur, using home remedies such as garlic, ginger, onion, and so on, can be sensitive to the skin and may worsen the condition.

Even, a post-removal treatment is needed to follow up on the improvement, but if you remove them yourself at home and there are complications, it may go beyond what you can handle.

If you are wondering what is the next step to take, which specialist should you visit, or what treatment is suitable for you.  No worries. London Keloid Scar Clinic offers a no-obligation consultation to discuss your concerns about your Keloid scars and to check your medical history, as well as provide you with available and suitable treatments for YOU.  This is the safest step to take.

Final Words 

Keloids can be minimal or large, it keeps growing if proper care is not taken.  Consult your dermatologist if it keeps growing after applying home remedies.  When they start to itch or pain you, that means they are growing.

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