Keloids are a type of raised reddish scar that continues to grow even after a wound has fully healed. Often associated with acne, keloid scars develop in approximately 10 percent of people, equally common in men and women, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD). The American Academy of Dermatology's AgingSkinNet website says the predisposition toward developing keloid scars is hereditary and, although they occur in people of any ethnic background, those of African descent are most prone.
Make an appointment with a dermatologist. The AOCD points out that keloid scars are significantly easier to get rid of early on, while older ones can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive to remove.
Ask your doctor about intralesional injections of corticosteroids for your keloid scar. AcneNet explains that these treatments can shrink, flatten and smooth out keloids. Injections are administered every two to six weeks, with the frequency depending on individual factors. If, after four injections, corticosteroids aren't providing the desired results, other procedural options can be explored.
Talk to your dermatologist about whether surgical removal of the scar is a viable option. Surgery is done in the doctor's office, and patients go home following their procedure.
Go to all follow-up treatments as prescribed by your doctor. Keloids have a 45 to 100 percent chance of recurrence without follow-up treatment. Typically, pressure dressings or devices are used or corticosteroid or interferon injections may be given. Radiation therapy may also be administered with X-rays, electron beam radiation or orthovoltage radiation, as outlined by the AOCD.
Discuss further options with your dermatologist if injections and surgery are not effective at getting rid of your keloid scars. Cryotherapy, described as highly effective by the AOCD, may be used to freeze scar tissue, which causes it to eventually fall off. AcneNet also recommends laser therapy to destroy the scar tissue. Both procedures are generally done in conjunction with corticosteroid injections.
Keloid scars are preventable with the application of silicone gel pads or pressure dressings on newly healed wounds, explains the AOCD. They are left on for 23 hours a day during use.
Keloids are technically considered a benign tumor, but they do not ever become malignant, according to the AOCD.
Other treatment options—including chemical peels or dermabrasion—which are used far more often for other types of raised scars than for keloids, may be available in your case, depending on individual factors.