A to Z: Keloids

A to Z: Keloids

May also be called: Keloid Scars

A keloid (KEE-loyd) is an overgrowth of scar tissue in the area of a wound.

More to Know

When skin is injured, the body produces a substance called collagen as part of the healing process. Collagen forms a framework for new skin and scar tissue to grow on until the skin is healed.

With a keloid, the body fails to stop the healing process and continues to produce collagen after the initial scar forms. This can cause the scar to keep growing and extend beyond the original wound. Keloids form most often on the shoulders, upper arms, middle of the chest, earlobes, and cheeks. They are raised and can be flesh-colored, red, or pink, and sometimes are tender and itchy.

Keloids are more common in people younger than 30 and those with dark skin. They can form in response to skin wounds caused by acne, burns, chickenpox, ear piercing, scratches, and cuts. Keloids are harmless and don’t need to be treated, but some people choose to treat them if the keloids are painful or affect their appearance.

Available treatments for keloids include surgery, steroid injections, laser treatments, radiation, and silicone gels or patches. Keloids often come back after treatment, however.

Keep in Mind

Although keloids don’t cause any harm, they can look odd and negatively affect a person’s self-image. Some can become smaller over time, but most don’t. Keloids can be treated, but treatment usually needs to continue to help keep them from coming back.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.