Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders cover a wide range of conditions, some benign, some very serious, and some even a sign of another underlying illness. A skin disorder not only affects your physical health, but also your emotional well-being.


Skin CareSkin Disorders › Keloid

Keloid Scar Treatment

A keloid scar is a special kind of scar. Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions, and may be reddish or dark in color, or they may be shiny, hard pink-dome shaped lumps. They can result from injury to the skin or may form spontaneously. They often grow, and although they are harmless, non-contagious and usually non-painful, they can be a cosmetic problem.

Causes of Keloid

A keloid can be caused by injury to the skin, such as a burn, insect bite, acne, cut, body piercing, or a surgical incision. Scar tissue normally grows in response to a wound, but a keloid is an overgrowth of scar tissue over a healed wound. Some people have a genetic tendency to develop keloids.

Signs and symptoms of Keloid scar

Keloids usually appear in areas of previous trauma but may extend beyond the injured area. They are shiny, smooth and rounded skin elevations that may be pink, purple or brown. They can be doughy or firm and rubbery to the touch, and they often feel itchy, tender or uncomfortable. They may be unsightly. A large keloid in the skin over a joint may interfere with joint function. 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.

Treatment for Keloid removal

There is no truly effective treatment for keloids. They may be reduced in size through a corticosteroid injection or application of topical retinoids, or removed by freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery). However, new keloids often develop at the site of the treatment. Keloids can be reduced in size by applying a sheet of silicon gel over the growth. Keloids that are disfiguring because of location and color may be improved through pulse dye laser treatment.

Cryosurgery is an excellent treatment for keloids that are small and occur on lightly pigmented skin. It is often combined with monthly cortisone injections. For severe cases, the keloid can surgically excised and given x-ray treatments to the site immediately afterwards, usually the on the same day. This works in about 85% of the most severe cases. Electron beam radiation can be used, which will not go deep enough to affect internal organs. Orthovoltage radiation is more penetrating and slightly more effective. There have not been any reports of this causing any form of cancer in many years of use, but it is very expensive.

Prevention tips

People who are prone to keloids should avoid cosmetic surgery. When surgery is necessary in such people, doctors can take special precautions to minimize the formation of keloids at the site of the incision. Examples of techniques that might be used to minimize keloid formation include covering the healing wound with hypoallergenic paper tape for several weeks after surgery, covering the wound with small sheets made of a silicone gel after the surgery, or using corticosteroid injections or radiation treatments at the site of the surgical wound at the beginning of the healing period.


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