Keloid scars: what they are and what you can do

Known under the name of keloid scars, or simply as keloids (the truth is that both terms designate a same lesion), usually arise as a consequence of the formation of fibrous tissue -scar tissue- when a certain lesion has occurred. Precisely, it appears when, in some cases, additional scar tissue tends to grow, forming soft growths that are hard to the touch. Thus, they may end up being larger than the original wound that ended up causing their appearance. We usually find them mainly in areas such as the earlobes, cheeks, shoulders and chest. Although, it is true, they can affect practically any part of the body. What are its causes and why do they appear? Can they be treated somehow?

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A keloid is basically a type of raised scar. And there are people who may be more prone to its formation. For example, you sustain a skin injury, fibrous tissue forms in order to repair and protect the injury, but suddenly additional scar tissue grows. As a consequence, right at the place where the wound was, now a soft and hard growth appears.

Thus, while a scar is a normal -and healthy- “attempt” by our body to repair a certain skin lesion, when a keloid appears we are faced with an excessive growth of scar tissue. In this way, they can develop due to injuries, tattoos, piercings or after any surgery. They can even occur after an acne breakout.

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On the other hand, sometimes keloids can end up appearing without any kind of clear cause. And although they are not harmful to health, nor do they cause any type of associated medical problem, it is true that they can end up becoming an aesthetic problem for many people, especially when they tend to grow a lot, and appear above all in highly visible areas of the body. body (such as ears or cheeks).

Discover: Before and After Photos of Acne Scars

What are the causes of keloids?

Experts do not fully understand why keloids form, although there appears to be an important genetic component. Thus, if you have a first-degree relative with a keloid, it is very likely that you will also have them at some point. Additionally, Hispanics, Asians, and African-American ethnicities are often more likely to develop them.

In general, our body has a series of useful and effective biological mechanisms to regulate the different processes of tissue repair and regeneration during the natural healing process of the skin. However, when a keloid appears, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Some research has suggested the existence of abnormalities in the production of melanocytes responsible for the stimulation of both the hormone and collagen in the skin. In addition, prolonged inflammation at the site of the injury, or the effects of stress on hormones, could contribute to the formation of keloids.

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However, at the moment it is not fully understood what are the factors that influence a certain person to have them or not. In fact, even those individuals prone to keloids don’t always get them after injury.

Luckily, it’s not something you necessarily need to worry about. They are not contagious, they are not an infection, much less a disease. They just happen randomly, and although they are not harmful to health, it is true that they can be an aesthetic problem.

How are they treated? Can they be removed?

There is actually no medical reason to remove keloid scars. But if they cause any kind of discomfort, or you just don’t like them (so they’re causing cosmetic problems), there are a few options available.

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Corticosteroid injections, applied directly to the keloid area, can be useful, since although they will not eliminate it completely, they can help to reduce it, by breaking the links between the collagen fibers, in addition to offering an interesting anti-inflammatory effect. It becomes, in fact, one of the most common and habitual medical treatments in the office.

However, when the keloid is particularly thick or large, it may require the application of 5-fluorouracil infections, a chemotherapy drug used topically to treat actinic keratosis (scaly patches considered a precancerous lesion of the skin ).

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