Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Keloids

Definition

A keloid is a growth of extra scar tissue. It occurs where the skin has healed after an injury.

Alternative Names

Keloid scar; Scar - keloid

Causes

Keloids can form after skin injuries from:

  • Acne
  • Burns
  • Chickenpox
  • Ear or body piercing
  • Minor scratches
  • Cuts from surgery or trauma
  • Vaccination sites

Keloids are most common in people younger than 30. Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are more prone to developing keloids. Keloids often run in families. Sometimes, a person may not recall what injury caused a keloid to form.

Symptoms

A keloid may be:

  • Flesh-colored, red, or pink
  • Located over the site of a wound or injury
  • Lumpy or ridged
  • Tender and itchy
  • Irritated from friction such as rubbing on clothing

A keloid will tan darker than the skin around it if exposed to sun during the first year after it forms. The darker color may not go away.

Exams and Tests

Your doctor will look at your skin to see if you have a keloid. A skin biopsy may be done to rule out other types of skin growths (tumors).

Treatment

Keloids often DO NOT need treatment. If the keloid bothers you, these things can be done to reduce the size:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatments
  • Radiation
  • Surgical removal
  • Silicone gel or patches

These treatments, especially surgery, sometimes cause the keloid scar to become larger.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Keloids usually are not harmful to your health, but they may affect how you look.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • You develop keloids and want to have them removed or reduced
  • You develop new symptoms

Prevention

When you are in the sun:

  • Cover a keloid that is forming with a patch or adhesive bandage.
  • Use sunblock.

Continue to follow these steps for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adults. Children may need up to 18 months of prevention.

Imiquimod cream may help prevent keloids from forming after surgery. The cream also prevents keloids from returning from after they are removed.

References

Berman B, Huo R, Viera M. Keloids. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 116.

Patterson JW. Disorders of collagen. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2016:chap 11.

Review Date:10/24/2016
Reviewed By:David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Read More

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No