Can Keloids Be Treated?
Keloids are raised scars that cover a skin injury. Unseemly as they might be, keloids are not entirely untreatable. Let’s find out about the ways in which keloids can be treated.
All of us have suffered skin injuries at some point or the other. From scrapping our knees and falling off bicycles to bumps and bruises through meddlesome childhood escapades. Sometimes we got the coveted band-aid but most times our mothers would tell us to allow the wound to heal itself. And they did (mothers are always right!), leaving behind scars that we flaunted like war trophies. But now we are all grown up, and scars are unbecoming so we hide them the best we can. However, no amount of make-up or topical creams can shoo away keloids. Those are the scars that force you to relive the injury over and over again. A dermatologist would be the right person to see in order to help you deal with keloids and come up with a treatment plan.
Keeping the keloid away
A keloid is a different kind of scar. Usually, when you hurt yourself, and the skin is punctured due to a wound or burn, your body’s mechanism takes over and replaces the damaged tissue with collagen. Once this process is complete, you are left with a scar. But when the collagen production does not stop when it is done and continues to pile up over the wound, spreading beyond the area of injury, you are left with a thick raised scar that is similar to a hypertrophic scar. This is called a keloid.
Prevention is better than cure in the case of a keloid. The best way to avoid one is to tend properly to your wound. Some people have the tendency to develop keloids and the best way to prevent this is to take care of your wounds during the healing process. In such people, the genes that control collagen production are at fault. There are several other factors like oily acne-prone skin and excessive hair around the wound. For people prone to keloids, compression dressing might be recommended as part of wound care or post-surgery care.
Treat it with care
If you do end up with a keloid, you don’t have to live with it. Keloids are not harmful to your health, although they might be emotionally distressing. A keloid can get discoloured or itchy. It is not contagious or cancerous. However, if you want to start treatment to get rid of a keloid, the sooner you start the better. Consult a dermatologist as soon as you spot a keloid and don’t wait for it to get itchy, lumpy and discoloured. The texture of keloids varies from soft to firm and rubbery. They are more common in dark-skinned people. If your body is prone to keloids, you should avoid tattoos, piercings and surgeries, if possible. There are treatments available to get rid of keloids, although the success rate of each varies, depending upon the patient.
Treatments include pulsed-dye laser sessions, which lead to flattening of the keloids; and superficial radiation. In the case of smaller keloids, steroid injections can be injected at the site to help reduce the size of the keloid. Newer modalities, such as cryotherapy, are being introduced regularly in the field of aesthetic medicine, and a combination of treatments can be used to treat keloids more effectively as well as reduce the chances of keloids coming back. In topical application, a corticosteroid cream can help alleviate itchiness around the keloid. Treatment sessions should be followed by prescribed home care. These treatments are highly specialised and come with a set of contraindications. So, make sure you are consulting a certified dermatologist for this.
Sometimes your doctor might recommend surgery as an option to remove keloids. Although it might sound counterintuitive, surgeons have a way of conducting surgery to prevent fresh keloids from taking place. However, surgical removal of keloids does not guarantee their lifelong absence. There are chances that they may come back.
If your keloids are showing signs of inflammation, redness and pain, you need to consult your doctor immediately.
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