Causes and Risk Factors of Keloids

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2023-05-04 05:30 AM | By Tamira Scientific Committee
Skin Care
Image of a mans hand with keloids

Keloids are raised, reddish-purple scars that form when the skin heals after an injury. Unlike other scars, keloids continue to grow beyond the edges of the original wound or incision and can become itchy or painful. They may also be sensitive to the touch.

Keloids occur when the body overproduces collagen, a protein that helps to heal wounds. The excess collagen forms a raised scar. While it is not known exactly why this happens, some medical conditions such as certain skin diseases, exposure to certain chemicals or radiation, and the use of steroids can increase the risk for keloid formation.

It is important to note that although keloids can form at any age, they are more common in people under 30 years of age. They also seem to be more common in people with darker skin tones.

What Causes Keloids?

Keloids form in response to any type of skin injury, such as

  • Piercings
  • Burns
  • Acne
  • Surgery
  • Vaccinations
  • Scratches
  • Cuts

While the exact mechanism of keloid formation is not fully understood, there are a few risk factors that can increase your chances of developing them. These include:

Family History – If you have a family history of keloids, you may be at an increased risk of developing them yourself.

Skin Type – People with darker skin tones tend to be more prone to keloid formation.

Age – Keloids are most common in people between 10 and 30 years old.

Gender – Keloid formation is more common in women than men.

Location on Body – Areas such as the chest, shoulders, and ears tend to be more prone to keloid formation.

It's important to speak with your doctor if you think you may be at risk of developing keloids, as they can offer advice and treatment options that can help reduce the chance of scarring or minimize those already present.

How are Keloids Treated?

There are several treatment options available for keloid scars depending on their size and severity. Some of these treatments include

  1. Corticosteroid injections- This is a form of local steroid therapy that can reduce the size and appearance of keloids. The steroid is injected directly into the scar and can be repeated until the desired results are achieved. 
  2. Laser Therapy- This treatment uses a pulsed dye laser to target the blood vessels in keloids, which helps reduce swelling and minimize redness. It may also help to prevent new scars from forming. 

  3. Cryotherapy– This type of treatment uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the affected area, which causes tissue death and prevents further growth of the scar tissue. 

  4. Surgery– In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove very large or disfiguring keloids. 

  5. Compression Therapy– This treatment involves the use of a pressure garment to apply constant pressure to the scar and prevent it from growing further. 

When it comes to keloids, prevention is key. To reduce the risk of developing a keloid scar, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for wound care and healing after an injury or surgery. With proper treatment and prevention methods, you can help keep your scars looking their best. 

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