A keloid is an extra growth of scar tissue over a skin wound. It grows beyond the margins of the skin wound. A keloid can be thick and differ in size from small to large. They are not harmful to overall health.
Keloids are found anywhere on the body. They are more common on:
Scar tissue is a part of the normal healing process. It grows in an uncontrolled manner. Even if the wound is covered, the scar will grow. The growth can last for weeks or months.
Keloids are more common in people who are Black, Asian, or Hispanic. They are also more likely in people who are aged 10-30 years old.
Your chances of a keloid are higher if you have:
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Keloids often begin as small lumps at the site of a skin injury. They gradually grow beyond the edges of the wound.
For most, the scar is the only symptom. Others may have:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to a keloid. Tests are rarely needed.
Some keloids may go away on their own, but this is rare. Keloids don’t need care unless they bother you.
Care for a large or bothersome keloid may involve surgery, lasers, or shots.
If you have surgery, your doctor may take steps to prevent it from growing back. This may involve:
To help lower your chances of a keloid:
American Academy of Dermatology
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Canadian Dermatology Association
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Manca G, Pandolfi P, Gregorelli C, Cadossi M, de Terlizzi F. Treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars with bleomycin and electroporation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013;132(4):621e-630e.
O'Brien L, Jones DJ. Silicone gel sheeting for preventing and treating hypertrophic and keloid scars. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(9):CD003826.
Scar revision. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/scar-revision. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Shaffer JJ, Taylor SC, Cook-Bolden F. Keloidal scars: A review with a critical look at therapeutic options. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002;46(2 Suppl Understanding):S63-S97.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD Last Updated: 6/20/2018