How do keloid scars develop?
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.
What do keloid scars feel like?
- 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.
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- Shamsi Meymandi S, Rezazadeh A, Ekhlasi A; Studying intense pulsed light method along with corticosteroid injection in treating keloid scars. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014 Feb 16(2):e12464. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.12464. Epub 2014 Feb 5.
- Gauglitz GG, Korting HC, Pavicic T, et al; Hypertrophic Scarring and Keloids: Pathomechanisms, Current and Emerging Treatment Strategies. Mol Med. 2010 Oct 5.
- Davidson S, Aziz N, Rashid RM, et al; A primary care perspective on keloids. Medscape J Med. 2009 11(1):18. Epub 2009 Jan 20.
- Viera MH, Amini S, Valins W, et al; Innovative therapies in the treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 May 3(5):20-6.
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