Keloid

  • Medical Author:
    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.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    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.

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What is the cause of keloids?

Doctors do not understand exactly why keloids form. Changes in the cellular signals that control growth and proliferation may be related to the process of keloid formation, but these changes have not yet been characterized scientifically.

Which people are most susceptible to keloids?

Keloids are equally common in women and men. 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.

In which area of the body are keloids most likely to appear?

Keloids develop most often on the chest, back, shoulders, and earlobes. They seldom develop on the face (with the exception of the jawline).

Keloids and piercing

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.

Is keloid prevention possible?

The best way to deal with a keloid is not to get one. A person who has had a keloid should not undergo elective or cosmetic skin surgeries or procedures such as piercing. When it comes to keloids, prevention is crucial, because current treatments leave a lot to be desired.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2015
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