When skin is injured, fibrous tissue called scar tissue forms over the wound to repair and protect the injury. In some cases, scar tissue grows excessively, forming smooth, hard growths called keloids. Keloids can be much larger than the original wound. They’re most commonly found on the chest, shoulders, earlobes, and cheeks. However, keloids can affect any part of the body.
Although keloids aren’t harmful to your health, they may create cosmetic concerns.
Symptoms of keloids
Keloids occur from the overgrowth of scar tissue. Symptoms occur at a site of previous skin injury.
The symptoms of a keloid can include:
- a localized area that is flesh-colored, pink, or red
- a lumpy or ridged area of skin that’s usually raised
- an area that continues to grow larger with scar tissue over time
- an itchy patch of skin
Keloid scars tend to be larger than the original wound itself. They may take weeks or months to develop fully.
While keloid scars may be itchy, they’re usually not harmful to your health. You may experience discomfort, tenderness, or possible irritation from your clothing or other forms of friction. In rare instances, you may experience keloid scarring on large areas of your body. When this occurs, the hardened, tight scar tissue may restrict your movements.
Keloids are often more of a cosmetic concern than a health one. You may feel self-conscious if the keloid is very large or in a highly visible location, such as an earlobe or on the face. Sun exposure or tanning may discolor the scar tissue, making it slightly darker than your surrounding skin. This can make the keloid stand out more. Keep the scar covered when you’re in the sun to prevent discoloration.
Most types of skin injury can contribute to keloid scarring. These include:
- acne scars
- ear piercing
- surgical incision sites
- vaccination sites