9 Treatments for a Keloid Scar

The appearance of keloid scars no longer has to be permanent. There are medical procedures and alternative therapies that restore the appearance of the skin.
9 Treatments for a Keloid Scar

Last update: 22 July, 2022

Generally, a keloid scar isn’t harmful to a person’s health. However, these marks are considered unsightly and, in many cases, they’re located in visible areas that affect the self-esteem of those who have them.

Fortunately, nowadays, medicine has multiple alternatives to improve their appearance or even eliminate them completely. What are the options? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the 9 most interesting ones.

What is a keloid scar, and what are its causes?

The Colombian Association of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery defines keloids as the excessive growth of fibrous tissue during the repair of an injury. Their appearance often exceeds the boundaries of the original wound.

They usually occur after a skin cut, but they’re also likely to appear spontaneously, especially if the person has some predisposition.

The journal Acta Médica Costarricense refers that disorders in the normal collagen structure are linked to the disproportionate thickening of the skin during healing, which leads to this undesirable effect.

On this point, the Pascua Dermatology Center Journal adds that the increase in fibroblasts and collagen matrix results in hypertrophic skin sequelae and pain.

What is a keloid scar?
The tendency to develop keloid scars may derive from genetic factors.

Symptoms of a keloid scar

The main symptom of keloids is a hardened, lumpy appearance. Other characteristics of this condition are as follows:

  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Irritation
  • Redness of the flesh
  • A lump with ridges or nodular
  • Altered sensation in the area

These scars tend to develop anywhere on the body, although the most common areas are the earlobe, neck, head, and chest.

Sometimes, over time, keloids minimize in size until they become less visible.

Can a keloid scar be prevented?

According to a publication by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, keloids are more common in blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and those under 30 years of age. They allude that the predisposition can be transmitted from parents to children.

All these factors affect the possibility of creating this type of scarring. However, certain precautions can help to avoid the deformation of the marks.

Among the advice given, it’s important to use sunscreen, cover the scar,and apply the medications prescribed by the doctor. In addition, for patients who are prone and fully aware of their condition, they suggest avoiding piercing procedures and surgeries that are not necessary.

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Treatments to remove a keloid scar

According to the characteristics of the scar, the procedure for a keloid is determined by a dermatologist. There are conservative therapies such as camouflage makeup, for instance, which is a convenient method if the person prefers to avoid other techniques.

It may be necessary to combine several procedures to erase scars. Let’s take a look at what treatments are recommended.

1. Laser treatment

Several sessions with pulsed light lasers help to flatten a keloid bump. The interval between sessions is 1 to 2 months. For a better response, it’s best to couple the therapies with cortisone ampoules.

2. Corticosteroid injections

Corticosteroid injections exert anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. These doses reduce the swelling of the keloid. The objective is to make the mark look flatter.

To do this, the specialist diagnoses the type of substance to be infiltrated and the number of relevant sessions. In most cases, they establish three punctures, spacing them every month.

3. Surgery

Surgical intervention as a treatment for a keloid scar is controversial. Although resection and infiltration of the lump could reduce its recurrence, for some, it’s considered the last alternative.

In reality, the removal of these scars in people with a history of keloids increases the risk of new formations. The consensus on the operation is to resort to it only if minimally invasive aesthetic mechanisms do not offer results. In turn, the risks are believed to be decreased by combining surgery with other types of treatment. 

4. Botulinum toxin

The Surgeon General newsletter reviews that the use of botulinum toxin type A (BAT) is an efficient therapeutic choice in cases of keloid scarring. In turn, the journal Cirugía Plástica Ibero-Latinoamericana highlights the influence of TBA on apoptosis and cell proliferation, which induces clinical and histological improvement of keloids.

TBA injections should be applied as soon as possible to relieve the tension caused by trauma or injury. With just two or three sessions, it’s already possible to notice a change. The total number of appointments necessary is established by the physician.

The Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology notes that if there’s no improvement in the appearance of the scar, the botulinum toxin almost always heals the itching associated with keloids at a very minimum.

5. Ointments

Ointments promote scar concealment, soothe itching, prevent discomfort and relieve pain. They’re topical corticosteroids with anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictive, antipruritic, antiproliferative, and apoptotic properties, according to the Fundación Piel Sana.

They’re usually formulations containing desoximetasone, fibrinolysis, and zinc and copper sulfate. Because of the delicacy of these topical medications, they must be prescribed by a healthcare professional.

6. Pressotherapy

Pressotherapy is a type of therapy that works by compressing keloid scars with insulating tapes and elastic bandages. It’s a reducing technique, argues the magazine Medicina Integral in a paper.

For this technique to be effective, the pressure must be 24 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). With this, it exceeds the normal capillary pressure, according to an analysis of the journal Cirugía Plástica Ibero-Latinoamericana.

It’s recommended that the pressotherapy lasts several months in periods of 12 to 19 hours.

7. Silicone

This treatment consists of covering the scar with a self-adherent and waterproof patch. Silicone patches are ideal for keeping the skin from reddening and for lowering the height of the bump.

Before placing it on the keloid, clean and dry the area. The patch should act for 12 hours over a period of three months. Leave it on while you carry out your daily activities; it doesn’t matter if it gets wet; the patches are ready to be reused for at least a week.

8. Radiotherapy

The Colombian Association of Dermatology states that radiotherapy is positive in the management of keloids and the prevention of recurrences. The procedure has shown better results if it’s preceded by surgery to destroy the keloid tissue.

In a maximum of three days after the operation, radiation advances to transform the keloid into a hypocellular tissue and prevent excessive proliferation of fibroblasts. This technique requires the joint participation of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and radiologists.

9. Natural remedies

Natural medicine is less expensive than other scar treatments. There are home remedies that attenuate keloids. Aloe vera, honey, and rose water are among the organic options that conceal these unwanted marks.

These natural remedies have properties known to promote the overall health and appearance of the skin.

Aloe vera for scars
Some natural remedies, such as aloe vera gel, seem to help reduce scars. However, evidence on their efficacy is lacking.

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Is there a danger of complications from a keloid scar?

Keloid scars do not pose health hazards. In rare cases, doctors order biopsies in order to rule out other kinds of skin lesions.

As long as you follow the advice of specialists, the scarring does not get worse. Patches, moisturizers, topical serums, and sunscreen are important to help reduce the appearance of a keloid scar.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.