What are keloids?

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What are keloids?

Dr Gabriella
Diaz

Sunday, August 02, 2020

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KELOIDS are raised scars that tend to form when the skin is healing after an injury. The scars usually extend beyond the original site of injury.

They commonly appear on the ears after a piercing, from a bump or acne that has been ruptured on the chest, post a tattoo or a cut on the skin. Keloids are most prevalent in African skin types.

In Jamaica, keloids are quite common and can be a cause of distress to the individuals who are afflicted. A common practice used as a home remedy in Jamaica is to tie a piece of string around the keloid. This should be discouraged as it can lead to infection.

Keloids can be unforgiving, in the sense that they do not obey the typical healing process. The skin does not obtain the signal to stop the healing, but continues, resulting in a larger scar beyond the original skin injury. They can burn, and some have an intractable itch that is not easily alleviated with medication.

When one has keloids, they can affect confidence and interactions with other people. Even when the keloid is in a region that is not seen by others, it can still affect the individual in terms of limiting the choice of clothing and, at times, there is still that intractable gnawing itching sensation under the clothes. Keloids are also known to increase in size during pregnancy.

There is no known cure for keloids, however, they can be managed using various techniques. Every time a keloid is removed, there is a possibility that it can return bigger and spread further than it previously did. It may be a common misconception that when a keloid is surgically removed, it has been treated. Excision only helps with the debulking to enable treatment.

Some of the treatment modalities post debulking are:

• Steroids — topically or intralesionally;

• Silicone strips;

• Pressure (mainly used for earlobe keloids, using earrings); and

• Radiation therapy.

As previously mentioned, keloids are known to increase in size during pregnancy. The woman in the photographs first presented during the final trimester of her pregnancy. She complained of a dramatic increase in the size of the keloids.

Post-pregnancy, the keloids were excised with surgery. The sutures were removed and when the skin was healed, she opted for compression earrings.

The usual recommendation for wearing the compression earrings is six months.

Two years post the surgical excision and treatment, she is still pleased, with no return of her additional “pregnancy bumps”.

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Dr Gabriella Diaz is a medical aesthetics doctor and registered dietitian who is the director at Finesse Nutrition and Esthetics (FINE) at 129 Pro, 129 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6. She can be contacted via e-mail at info.fineja@gmail.com and 876-522-8297.


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