Keloid scars

What are keloid scars?

Keloid scars are formed during the healing of a wound. In the process, too much scar tissue is formed, resulting in abnormal growth, which is usually large, lumpy and red in appearance. The keloids that develop can sometimes be bigger than the actual wound ever was.


Treating keloid scars can be difficult, and won’t always be successful. However, some treatments can sometimes decrease the size of a keloid or flatten it and make it smoother.

Keloid scar symptoms

Keloid scars have the following characteristics:

  • They appear and grow slowly, taking weeks or months to fully develop.
  • They show as a pink, red or flesh-coloured section of skin.
  • They are different from the skin around them, they can be lumpy or hard.
  • They can cause pain, itching, and tenderness in the area.

Medical tests for keloid scars

A GP or dermatologist can diagnose keloid scars simply by looking at the skin. Sometimes a biopsy can be performed to rule out other pathologies related to the skin.

What are the causes of keloid scars?

The causes of keloid scars can be very diverse, and we do not fully understand why keloid scars sometimes develop. After the skin is injured, the cells try to repair it by scarring, and in some cases there is an over production of collagen, leading to the formation of a keloid scar.

Keloid scars can result from any of the following:

  • Cuts
  • Acne scars
  • Chickenpox scars
  • Surgical scars
  • Ear piercings
  • Vaccination sites
  • Insect bites
  • Tattoos

Can keloid scars be prevented?

Some people are more prone to developing keloid scars, including people with darker skin as well certain families in which they are common. Whilst keloids cannot be entirely prevented, they can be avoided by not having piercings, tattoos, injuring the skin and treating acne.

Treatments for keloid scars

Treating keloid scars is a challenge as they are not always successful. Even after removal of a keloid, they can return in some cases.

The following are possible treatment options for keloid scars:

  • Steroid injections
  • Steroid tape being applied to the scar tissue
  • Silicone pads
  • Freezing the scar with liquid nitrogen
  • Laser therapy to reduce redness
  • Surgery to remove the scar

Which specialist treats you?

The specialist who treats keloid scars is a dermatologist.