Keloidal scars, or keloids, are puffy-looking scars that form after skin injuries. They occur because of your body's abnormal response to the injury in which it keeps creating new tissue. People with darker skin are more likely to get keloids, and they may get them with even the smallest cut. Keloids can form because of acne, chickenpox, piercings and tattoos, surgical or accidental cuts, or even from a needle stick. Depending on their size, keloids can be debilitating, preventing freedom of movement. Luckily, there are many options for removing keloids.
Things You'll Need
- Primary care physician
- At-home cryotherapy kit
Removing your Keloids
Decide whether you really need to get rid of your scar. Removing keloids (or at least reducing their appearance) is possible, but it can be expensive and you may not get the results you're looking for. If your scar is small and in a hidden spot, you might just let it go. If it's noticeable, or if it just bugs you, talk to your doctor about your options. Remember that some treatments to eliminate keloids can often just create new ones, and sometimes leaving them untreated will cause them to diminish in appearance.
Get corticosteroid injections. Injections of a corticosteroid, like Kenalog, directly into the scar will flatten out the puffiness of the scar and make it less noticeable. Corticosteroid treatment usually requires about three or four injections for a few months, and it is effective around 80 to 90 percent of the time.
Have the keloids surgically removed. For larger keloids, injections may not be effective. In this case, a doctor can recommend surgery to remove them, either with the old-fashioned scalpel or by laser. Laser removal often results in less likely recurrence.
Freeze them off. While there are at-home kits for freezing off warts and other growths, consider seeing your doctor for cryotherapy for keloids. Freezing can smart a little, so it may be tough to do it to yourself, and your doctor will be able to freeze off your small keloid quickly and effectively. If you decide to try an at-home kit for a small keloid, talk to your doctor first.
Prevent new keloids by avoiding cuts and other injuries. If you're particularly prone to keloid formation and you need surgery, talk to your doctor about Imiquimod cream, which doctors have recently begun prescribing to prevent keloid formation.