Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is a keloid?
- What is the cause of keloids?
- What are keloid risk factors?
- In which area of the body are keloids most likely to appear?
- What is the difference between a keloid and a hypertrophic scar?
- Keloids and piercing
- Is keloid removal necessary?
- What are keloid symptoms and signs?
- What types of doctors diagnose and treat keloids?
- Are there home remedies for keloids?
- What are the treatments for keloids?
- Is keloid prevention possible?
- What is the prognosis for keloids?
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What is the difference between a keloid and a hypertrophic scar?
After the skin is injured, the healing process usually leaves a flat scar. Sometimes the scar is hypertrophic, or thickened, but confined to the margin of the original wound. Hypertrophic scars tend to be redder and often regress spontaneously (a process which can take one year or more). Treatment, such as injections of cortisone (steroids), can speed this process.
Keloids, by contrast, may start sometime after a cutaneous injury and extend beyond the wound site. This tendency to migrate into surrounding areas that weren't injured originally distinguishes keloids from hypertrophic scars. Keloids typically appear following surgery or injury, but they can also as a result of some minor inflammation, such as an acne pimple on the chest (even one that wasn't scratched or otherwise irritated). Other minor injuries that can trigger keloids are burns and cosmetic piercings.
A keloid has a characteristic microscopic appearance and may be distinguished from a hypertrophic scar.
Keloids and piercing
Keloids can develop following the minor injuries that occur with body piercing. Since this form of physical adornment has become popular, the presence of keloidal scarring is much more prevalent. Since doctors do not understand the precise reasons why some people are more prone to developing keloids, it is impossible to predict whether piercing will lead to keloid formation. Although there are some families that seem prone to forming keloids, for the most part, it's impossible to tell who will develop a keloid. One person might, for instance, develop a keloid in one earlobe after piercing and not in the other. It makes sense, however, for someone who has formed one keloid to avoid any elective surgery or piercing of any body part.
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