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Keloid - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Definition

Keloids are also called as hypertrophic scar. It can be considered to be scars that don't know when to stop. It sometimes referred to as a keloid scar, is a tough heaped-up scar that rises quite abruptly above the rest of the skin. It is irregularly shaped and tends to enlarge progressively. Although anyone can form a keloid scar some ethnic groups are at more risk of developing them. You are more susceptible if you are African-American or Hispanic. Keloid scars are seen more in highly pigmented ethnic groups rather than Caucasians. Keloids may form on any part of the body, although the upper chest, shoulders and upper back are especially prone to keloid formation. Symptoms include pigmentation of the skin, itchiness, redness, unusual sensations and pain. Keloids typically begin as a small lump at the site of a skin injury and gradually grow beyond the margins of the original wound, but do not penetrate below the surface.

Causes

  1. Keloids occur from skin injuries like surgical incisions, traumatic wounds, vaccination sites, burns, chickenpox, acne, or even minor scratches.
  2. Changes in the cellular signals that control growth and proliferation may be related to the process of keloid formation.
  3. Dark skinned people get keloids much more easily than those with a paler skin. They are especially common in people with black skin.
  4. Exposure to the sun during the first year of the keloid's formation will cause the keloid to tan darker than surrounding skin. This dark coloration may become permanent.
  5. Some researchers believe that keloids are caused by the body's failure to turn off the healing process needed to repair skin.

Symptoms

  1. Keloids are usually raised and look shiny and dome-shaped.
  2. The color of keloids may vary from pink to red.
  3. They may be located over the site of a wound, injury, or other lesion. Keloids may form on any part of the body, although the upper chest, shoulders and upper back are especially prone to keloid formation.
  4. Some keloids become quite large and unsightly.
  5. Keloids are less common in children and the elderly.
  6. Although people with darker skin are more likely to develop them, keloids can occur in men and women of all skin types.

Treatment

  1. Injection may be one of the treatments in curing keloid scars. Injections are usually given once per month until the maximum benefit is obtained. Injections are safe and usually help flatten keloids.
  2. Mechanical compression dressings have long been known to be effective forms of treatment of keloid scars, especially with ear lobe keloids. Compression devices are usually custom-made for the patient and are most effective if worn 24 hours a day.
  3. The freezing treatment with liquid nitrogen i.e. cryotherapy is repeated every 20 to 30 days. It can cause a side effect of lightening the skin color, which limits this treatment's usefulness.
  4. Laser therapy: This is an alternative to conventional surgery for keloid removal. There is no good evidence that keloids are less likely to recur after laser therapy than after regular surgery.
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