People with brown skin and Asians, are more susceptible to keloid scarring. Scarring is general can heal in a number of ways; it can heal at the same level as surrounding skin, it can become atrophic meaning that the scarred area is depressed, or it could become hypertropic meaning that it is a little higher than the surrounding skin level. Keloidal scars however, are in a category by themselves. They are large and raised. People with a darker complexion, such as African Americans and those of Latin descent are at greater risk of developing keloid scars. Other groups that are at an increased risk are those with a family history and those who are genetically susceptible.
How it happens
A keloid is scarring that is out of control. It expands beyond the boundaries of the injury itself. This type of scarring is more likely to develop in people between the ages of 10 and 30, and is distributed equally among men and women. The keloid doesn’t form in the same way as other scar tissue. It may not even appear during the healing process but can occur months or even years later.
What starts the Process?
There are many reasons that a scar may occur. It can be due to burns, cuts, insect bites, vaccinations or surgery. Other ways of developing scars include tattoos, acne, ingrown hairs, or sometimes something as simple as a rash.
The Symptoms of Keloids
The keloid is always large in relation to the affected area. They may grow very slowly or rapidly for many years. They can appear on any part of the body but are found most frequently on the arms, back, chest and earlobes. There are some unpleasant symptoms that keloids tend to create. They are often itchy, usually at the outer edges, and pain occurs in and around the center of the scar. These problems are associated with cell abnormalities that cause the overproduction of collagen.
The process of keloid scarring is not yet fully understood. As a result we do have a cure for the problem. Various treatments are available that reduce the appearance of a keloid and these include laser, radiation, interferon and pressure treatments.
Laser therapy is effective in the short run but the rate of reoccurrence is high. The outcome is better when you combine laser treatments with other therapies. Radiation is a more effective method. The success rate is between 64 and 98 percent. Some people are concerned about the exposure to radiation but the dose given is very low and not really a risk factor for cancer. An injection of interferon will slow down the collagens rate of reproduction. Some studies have shown that the rate at which keloids will return using this treatment are inconclusive. More investigation is needed. Pressure treatment is effective, especially in the earlobes where pressure earrings can be used.
Keloids are a frustrating problem. It often involves trying a variety of different treatments before finding one that will reduce the size of the keloid, and also prevent it from returning. It is important to give any treatment you decide on the time needed for it to work.