Keloids can be considered scars that don't know when to stop. A keloid, also known as a keloid scar, is a tough scar that rises quite abruptly above the rest of the skin. Keloids begin after an injury and extend beyond the wound site. Keloids are shiny, raised and dome-shaped. They range in color from pink to red and tend to enlarge progressively. Some keloids become quite large and unsightly. Aside from causing potential cosmetic problems, these scars tend to be itchy, tender, and even painful to the touch. Unlike regular scars, keloids do not subside over time.
Keloids typically appear following surgery or injury, but they can also appear spontaneously or as a result of some slight 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 piercings.
Doctors do not understand exactly why keloids form in certain people. Keloids are equally common in women and men. Some women develop them because of a greater degree of earlobe and body piercing. Keloids are less common in children and the elderly. Although people with darker skin are more likely to develop them, keloids can occur in people of all skin types. In some cases, the tendency to form keloids seems to run in families.
Keloids develop most often on the chest, back, shoulders and earlobes. They rarely develop on the face (with the exception of the jaw line).
Keloids can develop following the minor injuries that occur with body piercing. 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 which 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, especially in body areas prone to scarring.
The best way to deal with a keloid is not to get one.