Treatment Options for Keloids – Keloids are a form of raised scars formed on the area where the skin was injured. During injury, scar tissue/fibrous tissue forms on the wound to repair it and cover it from more injury. Sometimes extra fibrous tissue may grow over the wound forming a growth that feels smooth on the surface yet hard inside. The growth is called a keloid.
One can develop keloids due to severe acne, burns, cuts, surgery, tattoos, body piercing, scars caused by chicken pox, and spots on the skin where vaccines are administered to the body. Keloids are not a common occurrence in most people and only 10 percent of individuals suffer from keloid scarring.
Keloids take several weeks or months to fully form and they are equally common in both men and women. Additionally, the size of the keloid scar is usually larger than the size of the original wound. Do you suspect you may be developing a keloid scar? Here are the common signs and symptoms of keloid scarring. They include:
- Itchiness in the wound area
- Scar turns purple, red, or pink in colour
- The scar area develops a different texture from the rest of the skin (some keloids are hard with a rubbery texture while others are smooth and doughy)
- The scar continues to expand in size
- A lump forms on the scar area
In addition to the above signs of keloid scarring, one may experience irritation or tenderness on the scar tissue, which may cause discomfort especially when clothes come into contact with the skin. Although some keloids may feel itchy, they are hardly a scare to your health.
Treatment of keloids
Keloid treatment is more of a cosmetic concern than a health concern. Nevertheless, if you have keloids, ensure that you see a doctor to analyze the scar. Depending on the state of the scar, sometimes the doctor may perform a skin biopsy on the patient to rule out serious skin conditions e.g. skin cancer.
Below are some of the most effective ways of treating keloids. Check them out.
Laser treatment is usually used on large keloids to flatten scar tissue. The procedure uses a type of laser therapy called pulsed dye which is administered to the patient over a number of sessions. The laser treatment works by resurfacing the keloid and its surrounding skin with the laser beams to make the skin surface appear more toned and smooth.
In some cases, the doctor may combine the laser treatment with cortisone injections to fasten the treatment process. However, there are possible side effects associated with laser therapy, especially in people with darker skin tones. They include:
Despite experiencing the side effects, the end result of a laser keloid treatment is usually better than the original keloid scarring.
Surgical treatment is recommended for extremely large keloids or old keloid scars. The keloid is removed through cryosurgery during the treatment. Cryosurgery involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the keloid tissue until it comes off.
After the surgery, the doctor may recommend additional corticosteroid injections to minimize the inflammation of the skin and lower the chances of the keloid reappearing. This is because there are cases where the keloid scarring returns after the surgical treatment.
If you have tried other forms of keloid treatments before without any success, then perhaps it’s time to talk about surgical treatment with your doctor.
Another form of treating keloid scarring is radiation therapy. During the therapy sessions, the doctor uses X-rays with low-level radiation to minimize the keloid tissue. Additionally, the doctor may introduce radiation therapy after surgical removal of the keloid tissues to help shrink the keloid tissues completely.
Several radiation sessions may be required in order to deal with the keloid tissues effectively. However, like all other types of radiation treatments, prolonged radiation therapy may cause cancer in the long term or other skin complications.
If the keloid is still fresh or new, then wound care is a great way to minimize the growth of keloid tissues. The treatment involves the use of compression dressings, which are made from fabric that is stretchy. The stretchy fabric is wrapped around the wound to apply pressure on it as it heals. You have to wear the dressings for 12 to 24 hours each day for about 4 to 6 months. Although wound care treatment may feel very uncomfortable, it is a great way to treat keloid scarring.
Freezing the keloid tissue
Another interesting method to deal with keloids is freezing them through a procedure called cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is usually used on small keloids, whereby the doctor freezes the keloids with liquid nitrogen. Several cryotherapy sessions may be required to get rid of the keloid scar completely. However, cryotherapy treatment may trigger the following side effects:
- Hypopigmentation- the loss of skin colour
Injections are used as a form of treatment in small keloids to reduce their thickness. In this type of treatment, the doctor injects the keloid tissue with cortisone or other types of steroids. In order for the scar to flatten completely, you may require regular monthly injections for about 6 months. Although cortisone injections are effective, they may trigger the following side effects in patients:
- Spider veins
- Thinning of skin
If you are afraid or squeamish about getting regular injections, you can opt for cream treatment. It involves applying corticosteroid cream on the keloid tissue to help minimize the itchiness. Additionally, cream treatment is a non-invasive form of keloid treatment that produces great results like the rest.
This form of keloid treatment involves applying pressure to the wounded area, especially after surgical treatment. It reduces the flow of blood to the keloid spot, thereby lowering the chances of the keloid returning.
As you can see, it is possible to treat keloid tissues and boost your self-esteem especially if the keloids are located on your face, hands, lower legs, neck, or any other visible parts of your skin. If you want to get started on keloid treatment, help can be found here. Reach out to us today.