Keloid - Symptoms

Authored by Dr Oliver Starr, 11 May 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Laurence Knott, 11 May 2017

Keloid typically starts to develop about three months after the original skin damage although it can take up to a year. The first thing you will probably notice is that rubbery scar tissue starts growing beyond the borders of the original damage. It may become tender, itchy, and painful or produce a burning sensation. Sometimes keloid develops without any apparent skin injury, although most people can identify a cause. The common areas are the breastbone (sternum), shoulder, earlobe and cheek. Keloid growing over a joint can restrict movement. In time, the original red colour changes to brown or becomes pale.

Growth continues for a few weeks to a few months. The growth is usually slow but occasionally there is rapid enlargement over a few months. Once they stop growing most keloid scars remain the same size or get smaller.

  • Keloid scars are an overgrowth of skin after a cut or injury.
  • Instead of the skin healing normally, it goes into 'overdrive' and heals 'too much'.
  • They start very small and grow slowly, over many months.
  • There can be a gap of a month or two between the original injury and the keloid scar starting.
  • Typical areas they develop are:
    • Behind the ears after ear piercing.
    • On the breastbone after chickenpox, acne, or an injury.
    • On the side of the shoulder (deltoid) after a vaccination.
  • They can also occur after surgery, done by doctors - for example, after ear reduction surgery (where there is a scar behind the ears) or for removal of a suspicious skin growth.
  • They are usually smooth, slightly shiny, firm skin growths.
  • When they are growing they can feel itchy, prickly or sore.
  • Once they have stopped growing they are not usually painful.

Further reading and references

Hey everyone, so I’ve have keloids for as long as I can remember. Currently I have  6 circular/ ovular smallish ones on my chest , 1 of smaller size on my arm , 2 of the same size at the back /bace...

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