We’re familiar with the way our skin heals after a minor burn or injury. A thin, smooth crust forms over the damaged layer of skin before falling off to reveal a pink-ish layer, which is the scar. But sometimes, for reasons that are still not completely known, your skin can overreact to the damage with an overgrowth of scar tissue that rarely goes away on its own. These overgrowths, called keloids, are generally shiny, firm and smooth, just like regular scars, but often cover a much larger area and continue to grow for weeks or months after the injury. They typically develop on the torso and sometimes on the face and earlobes.
Although anyone can get them, keloids are more common among darker-skinned people.
Keloids can be painful or itchy but aren’t usually dangerous to a person’s health. However, depending on where they are located, they can be a cosmetic concern. Fortunately, there are many treatment options to help remove keloids.
“Keloids can be very challenging to treat, but doctors can work with you to figure out a solution that works best for your circumstances and goals,” says Henry Hsia, MD, a plastic surgeon at Yale Medicine.