Keloids are basically scars that occur as thick, raised overgrowths on the skin.
However, unlike the usual scars, these pink, purple, or flesh colored keloid scars with a smooth surface do not subside over time. At most, they can become smaller and flatter over a period of time.
The condition is not harmful, though, as these fibrous skin tumors are benign and non-cancerous. So, these had and rubbery lumps are not painful but they can be tender and itchy.
They usually develop as a result of abnormal wound healing after skin damage and injuries like piercings, cuts, burns, chicken pox, insect bites, acne, and other skin abrasions.
This happens due to excessive collagen production. The skin requires collagen fibers for healing wounds. Collagen is a type of protein that makes up the dermal structure. Wounds that get infected or are under tension while healing are more likely to leave keloid scars.
It is believed that dark skinned individuals are more prone to this problem. Plus, the tendency to develop keloids can also run in families. Keloid scars usually develop between ages 10 to 30.
How to Get Rid of Keloids
Keloid scars are generally resistant to treatments. Thus, they cannot be cured completely. Nonetheless, here are 8 treatments and suggestions that can help heal the scars to some extent.
- Baking Soda
- Aspirin Paste
- Coconut Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Aloe Vera
- Onion Extract
- Steroid Injections
- Cosmetic Treatments
- Mix equal parts of baking soda and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Apply the resultant thick paste on the affected area three to four times in a day to shrink keloid scars. This mixture is likely to dry out the area. Hence, you can apply olive oil or jojoba oil afterwards.
- Take three to four uncoated aspirin tablets, crush them with the back of a spoon and add a few drops of water in it to form a paste. Apply a thick coat of this paste on your keloid scar and leave it for about 15-30 minutes (until it dries) before washing it off. Follow up with the application of tea tree oil.
- Massage a keloid with a mixture of 10 teaspoons of extra virgin coconut oil, and half a teaspoon each of lavender essential oil and calendula essential oil. Leave it on your skin for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water. You can try a combination of sesame oil, lavender oil, and rosehip oil, too. Moreover, you may apply a calendula cream two times in a day.
- Tea tree essential oil is considered good for getting rid of keloids and hypertrophic scars. In fact, it can even inhibit the growth of keloids and provide relief from itching and inflammation. So, you can apply tea tree oil or a mix of tea tree oil and vitamin E oil on your keloids. In case you do not want to put the oil directly on your skin, you may add it in a hot salt water solution. To prepare the solution, add half a teaspoon of sea salt and a few drops of tea tree oil in cup of warm distilled water. Soak the affected area in it for about 5-15 minutes. Follow this treatment two times in a day for almost two weeks.
- Regularly applying pure aloe vera gel on the affected area at least twice daily can shrink and fade keloid scars naturally over a period of time. In addition, you can use a combination of one tablespoon of cocoa butter, two teaspoons of aloe vera gel, and one teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Leave it on your skin for about half an hour.
- Onion extract is often included in skin care products because it helps prevent and heal scars due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and collagen-suppressive properties. Hence, you can either get onion extract in gel form or extract onion juice yourself and apply it on the affected area. To get onion juice, you need to dice a white onion and extract its juice through fine sieve or cheesecloth. You can combine this juice with vitamin E oil as well.
- Steroid injections can help flatten keloid scars, especially when taken in the early stages of the development of the scars. Besides, steroid-impregnated tapes can also be applied.
- If all else fails, you can consider cosmetic treatments like cryosurgical (freezing with liquid nitrogen), surgical excision, laser therapy, or radiation therapy to get rid of keloids. Before opting for any of these treatments, though, make sure you go through their pros and cons thoroughly. At times, when these lumpy scars are cut, they can come back and may eventually grow beyond the size of the previous scar.
Tips to Prevent Keloids
- With keloids, prevention is definitely better than cure. As these scars develop after skin traumas, avoid going for tattoos and body piercings, especially on areas like the shoulders, back, chest, ear lobes, etc. because they tend to be under tension. Cosmetic surgeries, too, are best avoided.
- Diminish the formation of keloid scars by going for compression therapy. It involves long-term compression of a keloid scar with the help of a pressure bandage or a silicone gel sheet. For ear piercings, pressure earring called Zimmer splints can be used.
- You can also apply Imiquimod cream (5%) on the affected area after a surgical procedure or surgical removal of a keloid to prevent the formation of keloid scars. It is most effective on ear lobes as it is a low-tension area. Imiquimod, however, may cause skin irritation and hyperpigmentation in some people.
Dos and Don’ts
|Do start keloid treatment as soon as possible because early keloid scars can be healed and minimized before they go on to become resistant to treatment.
||Do not expose keloids directly to the sun as they are likely to become darker than the skin around them due to tanning. Thus, make sure you use a sunscreen.
|If you are prone to keloids and dealing with severe acne, then do consult a dermatologist for proper treatment.
||Do not pick on the keloid scars.