Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars

A keloid is a bump or nodule that forms on the body at the point of an injury or open wound on the skin. Keloids are usually red or deep purple in color.


The body attempts to heal the skin from the injury and begins to form more tissue to replace the damaged tissue. This creates a fibrous tissue above the skin, which is what makes the raised keloid. Keloids are sometimes confused with hypertrophic scars. They are more common than keloids and do not get quite as large. Usually, keloids and hypertrophic scars are not harmful.

Keloids are more often seen in those with a darker skin tone, while hypertrophic scars are found in those of all skin types. They equally affect both genders.

Risk Factors

Along with discoloration of the skin, a keloid may also cause itching and slight pain or discomfort.


The keloid will start forming from 3 months to a year after original skin damage. They’re most common on the breast bone, shoulder, earlobe, and cheek. You will probably first notice scar tissue growing past the borders of the original damage. It can become tender, itchy, painful, or produce a burning sensation.


A doctor will be able to diagnose a keloid or hypertrophic scar with an examination. The most common treatment for both keloids and hypertrophic scars is a cortisone steroid injection. It causes the keloid to lessen in size and the hypertrophic scar to disappear altogether. Cryosurgery and laser treatment are also available for keloids.


American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
US National Library of Medicine


Keloids don’t always need treatment, and can sometimes become larger due to treatment.
Some treatments for keloids include:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Radiation
  • Surgical removal
  • Silicone gel or patches

These often help to reduce the size if it is bothering you.


Cover a forming keloid with bandages of some sort and wear sunblock to avoid keloids from getting worse.

The only way to prevent a keloid is to properly care for skin wounds. Imiquimod cream can be used to prevent keloids from forming after surgery, or from returning after they are removed.


American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
US National Library of Medicine

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