What are keloid scars?
Simply put, keloid scars are scar tissues caused as a result of an injury or operation. When the skin is severed or injured, it sends collagen-making cells to heal the wound. When functioning normally, the incision or injury should close up and heal. With keloid scars, the skin’s cells continue to multiply, even after the wound has healed.
Keloids can become larger than the original wound. These scars can form on any part of the body but it is most commonly found on the cheeks, shoulders, earlobes and chest.
Keloids aren’t harmful to your health but they can create cosmetic concerns. Some common symptoms of keloid scars include:
- An area of skin that grows larger with the scar tissue over time.
- An itchy patch of skin.
- A lumpy or ridged area of skin that’s usually raised.
- The scar begins as a raised pink, red or purple scar and becomes darker over time.
- The keloid scar feels soft and doughy or hard and rubbery to touch.
What are the causes of keloid scars?
There are various types of injuries/skin incisions that can contribute to keloid scarring. Some of these include:
- Ear piercings
- Scars as a result of chickenpox
- Acne scars
- Vaccinations sites
- Surgical incisions sites
According to AOCD, Keloid scarring is not as common as it only takes place in about 10% of people. Some people might never experience keloid scarring whereas others might develop it from insect bites, piercings or even chickenpox.
How to treat keloid scars
Finding an effective treatment for keloid scarring can be a bit difficult. Keloid scarring happens as a result of the body trying to repair itself where it has been injured or where an incision has been made. Once a keloid scar has been removed, there is no guarantee that it will not grow back again.
Having surgery done to remove a keloid scar is an option, however, it is recommended that you first try to treat the keloid naturally.
Natural home remedies for keloid scars
- Onion Juice – Onions are known for being rich in antioxidants properties and for many centuries have been used to treat scarring. It also reduces inflammation and can speed up the skin’s healing process.
- To treat a keloid scar with onion juice, apply the squeezed out onion juice directly onto the scar, 3 to 4 times a day. This could reduce the size and redness of the keloid scar.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Also known as ACV, has numerous benefits that can help reduce the growth of a keloid scar. Using ACV to treat the scarring will prevent scar-promoting cells from entering the scar site. It will also reduce the pigmentation and size of the keloid.
- To apply apple cider vinegar to your scar, dilute it with a little water and dab onto the keloid with a cotton ball. Dab the mixture on for 30 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. To get the most effective results, this should be repeated twice daily.
- Lemon Juice – Lemon juice contains a lot of vitamin C, which is beneficial for the treatment of keloids, working as a wonderful antioxidant for healing the skin. After consistently using lemon juice for a few weeks, you might notice a difference in the texture and colour of the keloid scar.
- Simply apply lemon juice directly on the keloid scar and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Repeat this twice daily for the best results.
- Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe Vera is commonly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. For many years people have been making use of skin products containing aloe vera to aid their skin problems. Needless to say, Aloe vera gel can play an important role in reducing inflammation, soreness and the size of a keloid scar.
- To use aloe vera gel, simply cut open the leaf and extract the gel. First, clean the affected area and directly apply the gel, leaving it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Optionally you can leave it on overnight.
- Garlic cloves or oil – Garlic contains allicin which prevents excessive fibroblast proliferation. This blocks certain enzymes from entering the keloid site that contributes to tissue and pigment buildup resulting in keloid scars. It can also improve blood circulation and speeds up the healing process.
- To use garlic cloves, simply crush 1 to 2 cloves, apply to the scar and leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.
- When using garlic oil, apply to the keloid using a cotton ball and keep it on for 30 minutes before washing off with cool water. To get effective results, you should repeat twice daily for either method.
Surgical procedures to remove keloids
- Cryosurgery – If you have a really large or old keloid scar, cryosurgery might be the most effective way to remove the scar. This procedure involves freezing the keloid scar away with liquid nitrogen.
- Surgical removal – This involves removing the keloid scar by cutting it out. This may appear as a permanent solution, but keep in mind, there is no guarantee that the keloid will not return.
- Ligature – Using this method entails tying a surgical thread around the base of the keloid. The thread will eventually cut into the keloid causing it to fall off. The surgical thread will have to be replaced every two to three weeks. This procedure is normally recommended for keloids that are present in the ear lobe.
- Laser treatment – smaller keloids might benefit from laser treatment. This procedure might be able to reduce the size and perhaps even fully remove the keloid scar. Laser treatment might be recommended after surgical removal of a keloid, to reduce the risk of a keloid forming.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent keloid scars from forming. The best is to try and treat any scars after surgery as soon as possible. Try natural remedies first, but if a keloid scar becomes an inconvenience or discomfort in any way, it is best to consult your doctor about treatment for your keloid scar.