Toggle: English / Spanish
A keloids is a growth of extra scar tissue where the skin has healed after an injury.
Hypertrophic scar; Keloid scar; Scar - hypertrophic
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Keloids can form after skin injuries from:
The problem is more common in people ages 10 to 20, and in African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. Keloids often run in families.
A keloid may be:
- Flesh-colored, red, or pink
- Located over the site of a wound or injury
- Lumpy (nodular) or ridged
- Tender and itchy
- Irritated from friction such as rubbing on clothing
A keloid will tan darker than the skin around it if exposed to sun during the first year after it forms. The darker color may not go away.
Signs and tests
Your doctor will look at your skin to see if you have a keloid. A skin biopsy may be done to rule out other types of skin growths (tumors).
Keloids often do not need treatment. If the keloid bothers you, the following things can be done to reduce the size:
Many of these treatments can cause a larger keloid scar to form.
Keloids usually are not harmful to your health but they may affect how you look. In some cases, they may become smaller, flatter, and less noticeable over time.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if:
When in the sun, cover a keloid that is forming with a patch or Band-Aid, and by use a sunblock. Continue follow these steps for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adult, or up to 18 months for a child.
Imiquimod cream can be used to prevent keloids from forming after surgery, or returning after they are removed.
Juckett G, Hartman-Adams H. Management of keloids and hypertrophic scars. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80(3):253-260
Romanelli R, Dini V, Miteva M, et al. Dermal Hypertrophies. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 98.
- Last reviewed on 11/20/2012
- Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
This page was last updated: May 20, 2014