5 Things You Need To Know About Keloids

It's common knowledge that when wounds heal, they sometimes leave scars, but it's less well known that scars don't always develop properly. Sometimes, the scar tissue keeps growing and eventually becomes larger than the wound that caused it. This abnormal scar tissue is called a keloid, and it's a hard problem for dermatologists to treat. Here are five things you need to know about this problem.

Why does the scar tissue keep growing?

Researchers still aren't sure what causes keloids. They think that keloids may be caused by problems in the cellular signals that control tissue growth, but this hasn't been proven, so for now, the condition is still a mystery. For now, researchers know that keloids are more common in people with darker skin and that the condition seems to run in families. More research is needed to find out why some people develop keloids.

Do keloids hurt?

Keloids can be painful, but this isn't always the case. Like normal scars, they can be completely painless. The scar tissue can be itchy, or it can rub against your clothing and cause discomfort. If your keloids aren't painful, your dermatologist may recommend leaving them alone. 

Are keloids a type of cancer?

Keloids are an abnormal growth of tissue, but, fortunately, they're not a type of cancer. They're just scar tissue and are not any more dangerous to your health than normal scars are. You may still want to have them removed for cosmetic reasons, or because they're causing you pain, but they're not dangerous.

Can keloids be removed?

Keloid surgery isn't recommended since the surgery will create more scar tissue. This new scar tissue may also develop abnormally, creating another keloid and putting you right back where you started. Studies have been done to figure out better ways of removing keloids. In one study, researchers injected triamcinolone acetonide into the keloids over a period of three months, and then surgically removed the keloids in the fourth month. Higher doses of this medication were shown to be effective for treating keloids on the earlobe.

Do many people develop keloids?

The exact prevalence of keloid growth in the United States isn't well documented. It's known to be more common in people with darker skin, but the prevalence in the general population still needs to be studied. This data is known for other countries: in the United Kingdom, about 0.09% of people have keloids while, in the Congo, about 16% of people do. From those studies, dermatologists can assume that keloids are probably fairly common in the United States, too.

Keloids are abnormal scar tissue, and while they're not very attractive, they're not dangerous. If you want to get rid of your keloids, make an appointment with a dermatologist office such as Dermatology Associates.