Scars are a common concern among people who are considering a piercing. However, not all types of scars are the same.
One type of scarring that you may not be familiar with is known as keloid scarring. Keloids are unusually prominent, visible scars that can form when your skin heals from a piercing or other types of wounds.
- 1 What are keloids?
- 2 How to get rid of keloid scars
- 3 Keloid prevention
- 4 Keloid risk factors
- 5 summary
What are keloids?
A keloid is a raised scar, but what makes it different from other types of raised scars is that it doesn’t just cover a wound. Instead, it spreads beyond it, usually growing much more than the injury itself.
In some rare cases, keloids will appear spontaneously, unrelated to damage to the skin.
Keloid scars are also unique in the duration of their formation. While a wound heals fairly quickly, a keloid scar may not appear until months after the skin has been injured. Once it appears, it can also grow in size, sometimes spreading more over the skin’s surface for years.
Keloids take on bizarre shapes. Unlike more typical scars, keloids can almost look like molten plastic that has solidified.
They also vary in their coloring. Some are very light pink, while others will have a much darker pigment, often much darker than the rest of your skin.
How to get rid of keloid scars
There are several ways to get rid of keloid piercing scars, but which one you use will depend on a few factors. You should see a dermatologist. They will help you decide on the best procedure based on the location of the keloid, the size of the scarring, and how long it takes.
One of the least invasive and least effective ways to treat keloid bumps is to regularly apply moisturizing oils, such as avocado oil.
These oil treatments, if they are effective, will soften the scar tissue and make them appear less prominent. Note, however, that they will not remove keloid scar tissue.
Cryotherapy involves freezing scar tissue to lighten the scar tissue and make it less visible.
Since this makes keloids a little more inconspicuous rather than getting rid of them, they are best suited for small ones, such as those that form as a result of acne.
Corticosteroids and other medical injections
Several drugs can be injected into the raised scar tissue to treat keloids, including interferon, verapamil, fluorouracil, and various forms of steroid injections. However, their effectiveness and use in the treatment of keloids has not been thoroughly studied.
Corticosteroids are the only drugs that have been studied extensively and are commonly used to treat keloid scars. These steroid injections are often used alongside other treatment, such as cryotherapy.
Surgery at the piercing site may be needed to treat larger keloids.
However, cutting the keloid scars will leave you with a surgical incision which can itself cause a keloid to develop. To prevent keloids from reoccurring after surgical treatment, follow the advice in the section below on “preventing keloid formation”.
Radiation therapy is another option for treating and eliminating keloids. This, however, is considered a bit more extreme than the alternatives. Because of the cancer risks associated with radiation therapy, it is usually only offered as a last resort, after all other methods have failed to significantly reduce scar tissue.
No Sure-Fire Method
It’s important to keep your expectations in perspective before trying to get rid of keloids.
There is no foolproof way to get rid of keloid scars, whether large or small. Treatments can minimize their appearance, but even then it is common for them to return to a piercing site after being treated.
Everyone’s body and every keloid scar is different. This means that not all treatments will have the same results in different cases.
Not everyone is susceptible to developing piercing scars such as keloids, and whether or not you are very much depends on genetics.
First, your ethnicity plays a role. Keloids are a more common form of scar tissue in the skin with darker pigments, so they are more common in people of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent.
If your birth parents have keloids, you are also more likely to develop them when the skin lesions heal. In fact, one study found that more than half of people who develop keloids have at least one family member with a keloid scar.
Age is also a factor. You are most sensitive to keloids between the ages of 10 and 30. Once you’ve passed the 30-year mark, your likelihood of developing this type of scarring decreases.
Okay, these are all the factors that are beyond your control, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do. If you know you are sensitive to keloids, fall into one of these higher risk categories, or just want to be careful, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing a keloid scar.
When you are injured, there is a three-step process you can follow to prevent keloids from forming.
The first step: Bandage the wound as soon as possible. Ideally, you should use a non-stick bandage and spread a layer of petroleum jelly on the inside (i.e. on the side that will be placed against the wound).
Second step: Wash the affected area daily and replace the bandages to make sure they stay clean.
The best aftercare product that I have personally used is the After Inked Piercing Treatment Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol-free and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types, including sensitive skin, and it comes in a large spray bottle for easy application. When used early in the healing process, the spray helps reduce healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or pain.
Third step: After your wound has healed, use a silicone gel bandage or self-drying silicone gel. You will need to use it frequently. Keloids can take a few months to develop, which means you will need to wear these bandages daily for at least two months (preferably three).
Some people find the bandages difficult to keep, depending on the location of the injury. If this is the case for you, use the self-drying gel instead.
Keloid risk factors
Pain and discomfort
Not everyone has issues with their keloid scars, but some people claim to experience pain, discomfort, and itching. The discomfort can be worse when the keloids rub against your clothes and become irritated.
The discomfort and itching that comes with keloids can be bothersome, but nowhere near the reduced mobility that affects some.
Keloid scars can be very thick and very large. If they’re growing near any of your joints, like your shoulders, elbows, or wrists, you might have a harder time moving those parts of your body.
While this is especially difficult for athletes (who need all the flexibility they can get) and those whose job requires a lot of dexterity (artists, for example), it is not something that everyone can get away with. the world wants to live.
If your keloid is tender or painful to the touch, or if it is warmer than the skin around the puncture wound, it may be due to an infection.
If the infection is discovered early enough, it can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Keloid infections that go untreated, however, can ulcerate and form pockets of pus or pus may ooze out. If the infection reaches this stage, it is too late to treat it with antibiotics and you will need to see a doctor immediately for proper treatment. Do not try to pop the keloid / lump under any circumstances.
Confidence and self-esteem
It’s important not to overlook the costs to self-esteem and self-image that come with keloids, especially if they’re highly visible and in an area that isn’t easy to cover.
Having keloids can make people self-aware, which in turn can undermine their confidence and make them feel unattractive. While not strictly speaking a medical problem, it can still be detrimental to a person’s well-being, and it’s worth taking seriously.
Unless you develop an infection, especially an infection that lasts too long without being treated, you can live with the keloid while taking steps to minimize its appearance or eliminate it completely.
Not everyone develops keloids, and not all piercings result in a scar. Nevertheless, it is important to know them so that you can make an informed decision and act quickly if you start to grow.