How to Get Rid of Keloids

  • The scar becomes particularly enlarged.
  • The scar becomes excessively itchy and uncomfortable.
  • The scar develops on a joint such that it impedes your movement.
  • The scar makes you feel extremely conscious and starts affecting your emotional and mental well-being.

Expert Answers (Q&A)

Answered by Dr. Niyati Sharma, MBBS (Dermatology)

Is it possible to permanently cure a keloid without any treatment?

No, it’s a permanent scar.

Can a keloid return after treatment?

Yes, especially if you continue to rub it.

Can keloids be prevented?

Yes. If you have a tendency to have keloids, avoid any cosmetic or other unnecessary procedures.

Otherwise, at the time of surgery, your surgeon or dermatologist should insert intralesional cortisone to prevent them from occurring.

Can keloid growth lead to increased risk of cancer?

No, there is no such link. If however you have had no procedure done or had no acne in that area and the scar occurred spontaneously, please see your dermatologist, as it could be a cancer growth.

Can a surgical incision lead to the formation of keloid?

Yes, that’s how it typically occurs or sometimes even due to severe forms of acne.

How to treat a keloid scar?

The best treatment so far is the intralesional cortisone that is done every 6 weeks. This is where cortisone is injected into the keloid via a small (diabetic) syringe.

Avoid rubbing keloids, as this can aggravate them. Keep them protected from the sun and avoid any unnecessary procedures in the first place.

If you have acne, and you are forming keloids, treat acne aggressively with the help of your dermatologist.

About Dr. Niyati Sharma, MBBS: Dr. Sharma completed her MBBS from the University of Adelaide, Australia in 2007. She completed her Pediatrics Dermatology Fellowship in 2018 from Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, USA.

Dr. Sharma currently sees patients at Monash Health, Victoria, Australia.

  1. Syazana1 MSN, Halim1 AS, Hua S. Antiproliferative effect of methanolic extraction of tualang honey on human keloid fibroblasts. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-11-82. Published September 26, 2011.
  2. Pazyar N, Feily A. Garlic in dermatology. Dermatology reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4211483/. Published April 28, 2011.
  3. Gauglitz GG. Management of keloids and hypertrophic scars: current and emerging options. Clinical, cosmetic, and investigational dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639020/. Published April 24, 2013.
  4. Del Toro D, Dedhia R, Tollefson TT. Advances in scar management: prevention and management of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27163611. Published August 2016.
  5. B B, Caperton CV. Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/21533292. Published May 2011.
  6. Gauglitz GG, Kunte C. Recommendations for the prevention and therapy of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Der Hautarzt; Zeitschrift fur Dermatologie, Venerologie, und verwandteGebiete. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21468729. Published May 2011.

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  • Surgery for Scars & Keloids

    Scar revision surgery can minimize the appearance of a scar and help it blend with the surrounding skin. Large or highly visible scars are often an unavoidable result of injury or surgery. The soft tissues surrounding a wound may change shape, dimple, or become sunken, uneven, or raised as the wound heals.

    When a surgical incision is healing, stitches—or sutures—can alter the look of a scar. If stitches aren’t removed before the top layer of skin heals around them, the entry points of the stitches may become permanent features, resulting in a “railroad scar.” Scars that form after an injury can heal unevenly, causing the skin on one side of the scar to be higher than the skin on the other, a type of scar sometimes called a “trapdoor scar.”

    Our reconstructive plastic surgeons perform revision surgery using a variety of approaches and select the most effective technique for you based on the type, size, and location of the scar.

    A surgeon may reduce the size of a scar; reposition a scar to a less visible area; or smooth the contours of the skin and other soft tissues to correct sunken or dimpled scars, which usually occur when the wound that caused the scar was deep and broad.

    A surgeon may use aesthetic techniques to move a scar to a less visible place. With scars on the face, a surgeon may remove and reposition the scar formed by an incision closure so that it is broken up or heals along a natural fold in the skin, making it less noticeable. For example, surgeons may reposition a scar located on the cheek closer to the ear, making it almost imperceptible. With large burn scars, a surgeon may reduce and realign the scar tissue to more naturally follow the contours of the body.

    Other cosmetic techniques include injecting a small amount of fat—which surgeons typically remove from another part of your body, such as the thigh or belly—to fill in any sunken areas caused by an open wound that healed by itself or by a wide zone of injury.

    Question: Are there natural remedies to remove keloids? – J. Horton

    Answer: Keloids are scars that become enlarged due to abnormal growth of fibrous tissues. Here are few natural remedies you can try at home:

    1.) Aspirin
    The same aspirin that you take for headaches and other health problems can also be used to treat keloids as it helps reduce the scar’s size and appearance.

    Crush three or four aspirin tablets and add a small amount of water to make a smooth, thick paste.
    Apply the paste on the scar, allow it to dry completely and then rinse it off by rubbing the area gently under water.
    Pat the area dry and then apply some olive oil or tea tree oil.
    Do this daily until the keloid is gone.

    2.) Sandalwood and Rose Water
    Sandalwood has many skin regenerating properties and rose water is a natural skin toner. Used together they can help prevent or reduce and lighten keloid scars.

    Make a thick paste of sandalwood powder and rose water. If you wish, you can also add some black gram to the paste. You can find black gram in an Asian supermarket.
    Clean the scar with water and apply the

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    Healing Bumps & Keloids

    There are many reasons for getting a piercing and a lot of positive things that come with getting one. They are unique, they make you feel good, they are appealing to look at, the list goes on. Thrown in there, though, are a handful of things that can go wrong. Most of which are preventable. Keloids and healing bumps are among those but people have a tough time telling the difference between the two. Let us help you out with that!

    Keloids

    Keloids are very firm scars that are usually pink to red in color. These clusters of excess scar tissue raise up above the skin and tend to grow larger and cover more surface area over time. They are sometimes called “a scar that doesn’t know when to stop” because the cellular information passed during the proliferation and inflammation stages in the healing process may be the culprit in this flaw. Keloid scars can be extremely itchy, tender when you place any sort of pressure on them and can be painful at times too.

    Keloids are usually genetic. Before getting a piercing, you can always ask your immediate family if they have ever gotten a keloid from a piercing, after a surgery, or from a chickenpox or acne scar.

    Healing Bumps

    Healing bumps are common and easy to get rid of. They can be found on any piercing but are most often found on nostril piercings and/or piercings on the ear. These bumps are filled with drainage, dead skin cells, and other wound debris that can become trapped from lack of aftercare or using things like Neosporin and Bacitracin. They are not super firm and are almost “fleshy” when you touch them. They may also fluctuate in size, starting very small and growing, then going back down again especially after soaking. Healing bumps indicate that the wound is unable to drain. They do not mean the piercing was done incorrectly, or that you are allergic to the jewelry.

    How to tell the Difference

    The fact that keloids tend to spread out and cover a larger area than the injury or wound itself is one of the easiest ways to tell the difference between the common healing bump and a keloid. A healing bump is a raised bump that typically just grows right above the piercing site.

    Healing bumps are generally skin colored and can be light pink while keloids look more like scars and can range from pink to a deep red. This article has some great information on what a scar is, why we scar, and some photos on the different types.

    Treatment

    If you’ve read through this and you’re still wondering whether you have a healing bump or a keloid scar, we welcome you to visit an Almost Famous Body Piercing location near you and visit with a piercing professional. That way, we can take a closer look and better assist you. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that one would be able to get rid of a keloid scar without the help of a plastic surgeon. Healing bumps, on the other hand, can be very easy to get rid of. It just takes some time and a consistent aftercare routine. For a healing bump, we would recommend our ‘Soak-It!” non-iodized sea salt and our “Wash-It!” glycerin soap. The sea salt is so important because it rinses out the inside of the piercing and pulls out the trapped drainage that started the healing bump in the first place. You want to soak it a minimum of three times a day with a maximum of ten times. You can also purchase Tea Tree Oil to help eliminate a healing bump. This can be applied topically and to your soak as well.

    There can be a lot of misinformation circulating when it comes to the difference between healing bumps and keloid scarring. That’s why we’re always here to help. We’re available by phone, email, messaging, and in person for questions on these subjects.

    What’s a Keloid Scar and How Do You Get Rid of One?

    Let’s face it: Scars suck. Just about everyone has had at least one. Typically, scars fade over time. But sometimes they just stick around reminding you of your acne woes, your appendectomy, or that time you sliced your finger chopping vegetables.

    Scars especially annoying when they become noticeably large and thick and have a kind of raised and bumpy look to them-these are called keloid scars. We asked two doctors to give us the lowdown on keloid scars and how to get rid of them.

    What are keloids?

    “Normally when scar tissue forms, your skin creates collagen,” explains Maurice Khosh, M.D., F.A.C.S., a plastic surgeon. “However, sometimes that collagen formation becomes too aggressive and doesn’t stop, which causes the scar to continue to get larger.”

    Sometimes, people can mistake a keloid scar for a hypertrophic one. “Like keloids, hypertrophic scars are caused by excess tension on a wound,” says dermatologist Sanusi Umar, M.D. The difference is that while hypertrophic scars remain roughly within the bounds of the original scar, keloid tissues grow beyond the original edges, Khosh adds.

    Where do they form?

    Keloids can result from surgical scars, wounds, or even tattoos and pierced ears. “A wound that is likely to become a keloid is caused by tension,” Umar says. “They can occur anywhere on the body, but they’re more likely to form in areas with high tension and subject to a lot of movement, like the middle of your chest or your ear lobes.”

    Why do some people get them?

    According to the Keloid Research Foundation, what causes keloids is poorly understood. However it’s clear that genetics plays a role-skin color and family history are two of the biggest risk factors, Umar says. Typically, people with darker skin are more prone to this scar condition, he explains.

    “They can happen to anybody,” Khosh says. “But the risk factor in a person who is white is quite low.”

    How do you get rid of them?

    There are many methods for treating and diminishing the look of keloids. Here are some of the more effective ways:

    • Steroid injections: Steroids have an anti-inflammatory component that treats the inflammation caused by keloids. Both doctors agree that the number-one way to get rid of smaller keloids is by injecting steroids into the scar to soften and diminish the appearance.
    • Pressure: By applying some pressure onto the scar, you can slow down the growth of the keloid. For instance, if you have a keloid on your ear from a piercing, try wearing clip-on earrings to compress it.
    • Topical treatment: Some doctors like to use sheeting made out of silicone to apply on the keloid or even hypertrophic scars. “The dressing provides pressure on the wound and helps keep more moisture within the skin, which both help to get rid of them,” Khosh says.
    • Surgery: If the keloid is larger than normal, your best bet is to minimize the scar through surgery, thus creating a new scar, says Umar. From there, the doctor injects steroids into your new scar to prevent it from growing again.
    • Laser: Some doctors use lasers to diminish the look, but both doctors say that they find this method to be the least effective way for getting rid of keloids, especially ones formed from a surgical procedure.

    Other less common methods of treating keloid scars include cryotherapy (freezing the scar), and chemotherapy and radiation, the doctors say. Unfortunately, if yours is pretty large and raised, there’s a chance you’ll have the scar forever since those are more difficult to treat. But ultimately, keloids are not life-threatening. Speak to a doctor to find out the best method to treat yours.

    • By By Sophie Dweck

    Keloids: Diagnosis and treatment

    How do dermatologists diagnose keloids?

    A dermatologist can usually diagnose a keloid by looking at it.

    If a keloid looks like a worrisome skin growth, a dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy. This involves removing a small section so that it can studied under a microscope. A dermatologist can quickly and easily remove a small section during an office visit.

    How do dermatologists treat keloids?

    To give their patients the best results, dermatologists may recommend more than one type of treatment for a keloid. These scars can be difficult to get rid of, and some return after treatment. Using two or more types of treatment often improves results.

    Before your appointment with a dermatologist, it’s helpful to think about what you expect from treatment. Think how you would answer the following questions:

    • Is easing a symptom like pain or itch most important to you?

    • Will flattening or softening the keloid help you feel better?

    • If you have a keloid on your ear, is your primary goal to wear earrings again?

    Knowing what you expect will help your dermatologist provide you with realistic information about what treatment can do. It will also help your dermatologist create your treatment plan.

    If you’ve had keloid treatment before, make sure your dermatologist knows.

    A treatment plan for keloids may include:

    Injections of corticosteroids and other medicines: These injections are often part a treatment plan for keloids. When injected into the keloid, these medicines help to shrink the scar.

    Patients usually receive a series of injections once every three to four weeks. On average, patients return about four times for these injections. The first injections tend to relieve symptoms and make the keloid feel softer.

    Between 50% and 80% of keloids shrink after being injected. Many of these keloids, however, will regrow within five years. To improve results, dermatologists often add another therapy to the treatment plan.

    Surgical removal (keloid surgery): This treatment involves surgically cutting out the keloid. While this may seem like a permanent solution, it’s important to know that nearly 100% of keloids return after this treatment.

    To reduce the risk of a keloid returning after surgical removal, dermatologists often treat patients with another keloid treatment after the surgery. Injections of corticosteroids or cryotherapy may help reduce the risk. If the keloid is on an earlobe, wearing a special earring that puts pressure on the earlobe can prevent the keloid from returning.

    Receiving radiation treatments after surgical removal may also prevent a keloid from returning.

    Pressure earring, dressing, or garment: This is often used after keloid surgery. Putting pressure on the area reduces blood flow, which can stop a keloid from returning.

    Between 90% and 100% of patients who use this treatment as directed after keloid surgery can prevent another keloid.

    Using this as directed, however, can be difficult. These devices tend to be uncomfortable. To get results, a patient must wear it for up to 16 hours a day for 6 to 12 months.

    The pressure earring tends to be easiest to wear. It is often recommended after a dermatologist removes a keloid from an earlobe.

    Laser treatment: This can reduce the height and fade the color of a keloid. It’s often used along with another treatment like a series of corticosteroid injections or pressure.

    Silicone sheets and gels: These may be used along with pressure to prevent a keloid from returning.

    Sometimes, silicone is used alone to flatten a keloid. In one study, 34% of the raised scars had some flattening after patients used the silicone gel daily for six months.

    Cryotherapy: This treatment freezes the keloid from the inside out while saving the skin beneath the keloid. It’s used to reduce the hardness and size of a keloid. Cryotherapy works best on small keloids.

    Having a few cryotherapy treatments before (or after) receiving injections of corticosteroids may reduce the size of a keloid. This can make the injections more effective.

    Dermatologists have found that patients who have three or more cryotherapy treatments tend to get the best results.

    Radiation treatments: Getting radiation therapy after your dermatologist surgically removes the keloid may prevent the keloid from returning. Patients may begin radiation treatments immediately after keloid surgery, the next day, or a week later.

    Radiation may also be used alone to reduce the size of a keloid. Results, however, tend to be better when it’s used after keloid surgery.

    Ligature: If a surgical thread can be tied around the keloid, your dermatologist may recommend this treatment. The surgical thread will gradually cut into the keloid, which can cause it to fall off. You’ll need to tie a new surgical thread around the keloid every two to three weeks.

    Other treatments: To improve results, dermatologists are studying new treatments. To give you the best results, your dermatologist may recommend another treatment option.

    What is the outcome after treatment for a keloid?

    Treatment can reduce the size of keloid. It can reduce symptoms like pain and itch. Sometimes, treatment gets rid of a keloid.

    Even after successful treatment, some keloids return. Following your dermatologist’s instructions can help you reduce the chance of a keloid returning. It will also help you get the best results from treatment.

    Image
    Getty Images

    Kelly AP. “Keloids” In Kelly AP, Taylor SC, et al. Dermatology for Skin of Color. The McGraw Hill Companies, China, 2009. 178-94.

    London, S. “Management of keloids draws on clinical wisdom.” Dermatology News (Digital Network). 2013 Nov 1 2013. Last accessed September 30, 2016.

    Son D and Harijan A. “Overview of surgical scar prevention and management.” J Korean Med Sci. 2014;29(6):751-7.

    Keloid Scars

    Topic Overview

    A keloid (say “KEE-loyd”) is a scar that grows bigger and wider than the original injury. Keloids most commonly grow on the breastbone, shoulder, upper chest and back, earlobes, and face.

    Keloids do not become cancer. But they can be bothersome or painful enough that you seek treatment. Keloids often grow back after treatment.

    It’s possible to prevent a keloid from forming if you take steps to protect the skin after it is damaged.

    What causes a keloid?

    Keloids can form where the skin is damaged, such as by a surgery cut, a piercing, a burn, chickenpox, or acne. Thick tissue grows up and out from the healing area, making the scar bigger than the original injury. For some people, even a scratch can lead to keloids.

    Keloids do run in families, and they rarely grow in light-colored skin. Experts think that keloids may be linked to a gene that is linked to dark skin pigment.

    What are the symptoms?

    Keloids look like firm, raised, hard scars. They grow larger over time. Their colors vary from slightly pink to very dark.

    Keloids can rub against your clothes and become irritated, itchy, or painful. When exposed to the sun, they may turn darker than the rest of your skin. The dark color may stay.

    How is it treated?

    There is no sure cure for keloids, but treatment sometimes improves how they look and feel. It is common for keloids to grow back after treatment.

    When trying to treat a keloid, your doctor may need to use more than one type of treatment. Based on a keloid’s size and location, and how soon it is treated, your doctor may:

    • Freeze it. This is called cryotherapy. It is best used for small keloids, such as from acne. Cryotherapy can lighten the skin.
    • Inject it with medicine.
      • A corticosteroid is the most commonly used medicine for reducing keloids. It is most likely to work well with cryotherapy or right after surgery.
      • Other medicines may improve keloids. These include verapamil, fluorouracil, bleomycin, and interferon alfa-2b shots. They are not as well studied as corticosteroid shots, but your doctor may recommend trying one. They are most likely to work when used with another treatment.
    • Cut it away. Surgery is sometimes used to remove larger keloids. But removing keloids can lead to more keloids. So it’s important to treat the area after surgery. Treatment may include laser or medicine injections.
      • Cover the area with a silicone gel bandage after surgery. You can buy these at most drugstores. Keep the silicone bandage on the skin for 12 to 24 hours a day for 2 to 6 months. Your doctor will tell you when you can stop treatment.
      • Keep pressure on it with a wrap or bandage.

    Radiation tends to be reserved as a last option for treating keloids. There is a chance that it can cause cancer.

    Your health insurance may cover some keloid treatments, but not others. Your treatment also may not be covered if the insurance company thinks it’s being done only to improve how the scar looks (cosmetic reasons).

    How can you prevent keloids?

    If you tend to get keloids, it’s best to avoid body piercings, tattoos, or any surgery you do not need. Keloids can grow after these procedures.

    To prevent keloids after a minor skin injury, start treating it right away. This may help it heal faster and with less scarring. Using the following tips to treat the area may help prevent keloid growth.

    • Cover a new wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage. Hold the bandage in place with tape so that there is even pressure on the wound. Wash the area with soap and water every day.
    • After a wound is healed over, use a silicone gel bandage. Keep even pressure on the area. This may prevent keloid growth. Keep the bandage on the skin for 12 to 24 hours a day for 2 to 3 months. (It takes 3 months for a keloid to grow).
    • After ear piercing, use pressure earrings. These are also called Zimmer splints.

    Depending on appearance, some people may want to get rid of the keloids they have.

    There are a few ways to do this. You can try a few of these home methods first before contacting a dermatologist for prescription or over-the-counter approaches.

    Home remedies

    Aspirin

    A 2013 review and a 2015 study suggest that the topical use of aspirin pills may help treat keloids. Research found that aspirin prevents scar-promoting cells from entering the keloid site when applied. This way, both pigmentation and keloid size are reduced.

    To try this remedy:

    1. Crush three to four aspirin tablets.
    2. Mix them with enough water to form a paste.
    3. Apply them to the keloid or wound site. Let it sit for an hour or two, then rinse.
    4. Repeat once every day until desired results are achieved.

    Garlic

    This root vegetable works much like aspirin, according to a 2011 dermatology report. It blocks certain enzymes from entering the site that contribute to tissue and pigment buildup. Over time, application may help lighten scars.

    To use this method:

    1. Take two to three fresh garlic cloves and crush them.
    2. Apply to the keloid area and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
    3. Wash off with water and apply moisturizer.
    4. Discontinue use or reduce application time if the garlic burns your skin.

    Honey

    Honey contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce keloids. Honey was mentioned in a 2015 review for its healing potential with keloids specifically. It’s an appealing natural alternative without potential harmful side effects found in corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin.

    For this method:

    1. Dab a bit of raw honey — organic honey is recommended — on the site. Let it sit.
    2. Rinse off later if the site gets sticky.
    3. Reapply as often as needed. It’s recommended that you use it at least two to three times per day until you get your desired results.

    Onion

    Quite a few studies support the use of onion for keloids. A 2013 study found that the use of onion extract stopped fibroblasts — the cells that produce the scar tissue — from entering the skin.

    Another study in 2012 found onion extract gel sped healing and reduced scar height. In a 2011 trial, it reduced pigmentation. This is most likely due to its quercetin content, a flavonol with antioxidant properties.

    To use this remedy:

    1. Cut a small onion into small pieces. A red, white, or yellow is fine to use.
    2. Squeeze out the juice by compressing it with a clean cloth.
    3. Apply the juice to the keloid area and let it sit until dry.
    4. Rinse. Apply three to four times per day until you see your desired results.

    Medical treatments

    Retinoid cream

    Retinoid cream is a derivative of vitamin A, or retinol. Much like natural remedies such as garlic or onion, the cream has been clinically proven to reduce keloid appearance.

    Make sure to follow the directions on the retinoid cream product you purchase.

    Silicone

    Silicone gel or sheets may be a go-to recommendation from your doctor. A 2013 trial found them just as effective as retinoid cream. Follow instructions or directions on the silicone product you purchase, or those given by your doctor.

    Steroid injections

    Injections of steroidal anti-inflammatories have been known to help with keloids. However, these have been shown to be more effective following major treatment for keloids. This includes surgical scar removal, laser treatment, and more, as noted in a 2014 study.

    A combination of different injected steroids has also been shown to be more successful in a 2012 analysis. An 80 percent recurrence rate was reported, however. Talk to your doctor about using injected steroids in combination with surgery, laser removal, or other operations.

    However, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist if you have a keloid, Dr. Burris says. For one thing it’s important to make sure it’s actually a keloid and not another type of raised skin issue. And if you do decide you want to treat your keloid, the earlier you start addressing it, the better chance that the treatment will work.

    Treating keloids can be challenging, but there are several options.

    Remember that keloids aren’t harmful or a sign of cancer. So there’s no medical reason to have them removed. But if you would like to pursue the idea because they cause discomfort or you simply don’t like the way they look, there are some options out there.

    At first you might be tempted to try over-the-counter options including topical silicone sheets and gels. These usually need to be applied at least once a day and used continuously for months to see any results, SELF explained previously. These are also most effective when scars are new, and your dermatologist may advise you use this along with another treatment, such as a pressure dressing that reduces blood flow to the area to stop a keloid from forming.

    But more often than not dermatologists will recommend going straight to corticosteroid injections into the keloid area, Dr. Preissig says. This won’t remove the keloid, but it can help thin it out by breaking up the bonds between collagen fibers and providing an anti-inflammatory effect. This is the most common treatment, Dr. Burris says, noting that the majority of people notice some difference. But it could take an injection once a month for four to six months to get the effects.

    If your keloid is particularly thick or large, steroid injections alone may not be enough, Dr. Preissig says. In that case, your dermatologist may recommend using injections of 5-fluorouracil, a chemotherapy medicine used topically to treat actinic keratosis (a scaly, precancerous patch of skin) as well as some types of skin cancer. “Keloids aren’t cancer, but this type of injection has been very effective,” Dr. Preissig says. It can be used on its own or alongside steroid treatments.

    It’s also possible to surgically shave down or completely excise a keloid so it’s less noticeable. But in many cases, again, the keloid comes back, Dr. Burris says. That’s why many dermatologists recommend combining treatments, like using compression, silicone sheets, injections, and surgery in the same patient.

    Laser therapy is another option, which involves exposing the scar area to a high-energy beam of light that then kickstarts the healing and exfoliation process, resulting in improvements in skin texture and pigment. But laser treatments tend to be expensive and it may take several sessions to see results. Although lasers can usually lighten scars that have healed completely, it still helps to start treatment as early on in the process as possible.

    Other options include radiation and cryotherapy treatment. Radiation, which includes X-ray therapy and internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy), in particular isn’t used as often because of the possible side effects, so doctors will carefully weigh the pros and cons of this approach before recommending it.

    In cryotherapy, the keloid is exposed to extremely cold temperatures, which causes a process called cryonecrosis (literally injuring skin cells by freezing them.) This type of therapy has proven to be effective for reducing the size of keloids after several sessions, especially when combined with steroid injections, but it is also known to cause pain and a loss of pigment in the area.

    Body Piercing: Keloids and Hypertrophic Scar Tissue

    Have you ever gotten a piercing only to find a week later that a small bump has appeared right next to the piercing? More than likely you have a keloid! Don’t worry. We know all about those pesky little guys! Find out what they really are, what causes them and, of course, how to get rid of them right here.

    What is a keloid?

    Keloids are those little bumps that occur around the site of a piercing – usually on the entrance or exit of a piercing. Essentially this is a build up of scar tissue.

    What’s the difference between a keloid and hypertrophic scar tissue?

    Absolutely nothing. Keloid is the slang term more commonly used, while hypertrophic scar tissue is the more technical term.

    Which piercings are prone to keloids?

    Keloids can occur with any kind of piercing, they occur after an abrasion in the skin. But they are more common in some kinds of piercings. These include nostril piercings, cartilage piercings and industrial piercings.

    What causes a keloid to form?

    Each piercing has a healing period. During this healing period, there is a scab on the inside of the piercing. When healing a piercing you should always try your best to leave this scab intact in order for the piercing to heal properly.

    If you do play with your piercing, consistently change out your jewelry and anything else that puts pressure on your healing piercing this scab will keep being torn over and over again. When repeatedly breaking down the scab, your body will start to form scar tissue which can continue to build up and bubble out of the top and bottom of the piercing. That’s what a keloid is!

    How do I avoid keloids?

    In the last question we spoke a little about how keloids form. It’s important not to consistently play with, twist or change a piercing in order to allow to piercing to properly heal. But that isn’t all there is to keloids.

    They can also be brought on by using harsh cleansers like alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. These guys will eat away at the scab and lead to scar tissue eventually forming. Always stick to salt water soaks when healing a piercing only!

    Trauma to the piercing site can also cause keloids. This goes along with constantly rotating the piercing. It only takes a couple times of getting your piercing caught on a towel or a piece of clothing to start forming a keloid. Don’t forget sleeping on a piercing can cause just as much trauma as well!

    The angle of the piercing and a low grade of metal in your piercing jewelry can cause keloids.

    How to get rid of a keloid?

    Sea salt soaks!

    We can’t suggest sea salt soaks enough. They’re the best solution for almost any piercing problem and are so important in general healing. Once you have this process down you won’t need anything else! Find out how to do a proper sea salt soak by clicking the link above.

    Cautiously applying tea tree oil can be great for sucking the moisture out of the bump. Apply this to the bump and try to leave contact between the piercing and tea tree oil to a minimum.

    For more information on tea tree oil check out this article: Tea Tree Oil for Body Piercings Explained

    Here’s how to do it: Before bed, apply a thin layer of tea tree oil to the bump only. Sleep on it and by the time you wake up there should be a thin layer of skin left on top. Peal this off and re-apply immediately. Over time enough of these tiny layers should peel away to nothing!

    Disclaimer: Before starting to treat any piercing, make sure you stop by your local piercing studio to make sure you know what you’re dealing with! These piercers’ should be able to tell immediately what it is that has caused your keloid and, in doing so, the best way to treat it.

    Get rid of keloids

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