What is the definition of Keloids?

A keloid is a growth of extra scar tissue. It occurs where the skin has healed after an injury.

What are the alternative names for Keloids?

Keloid scar; Scar - keloid

What are the causes for Keloids?

Keloids can form after skin injuries from:

  • Acne
  • Burns
  • Chickenpox
  • Ear or body piercing
  • Minor scratches
  • Cuts from surgery or trauma
  • Vaccination sites

Keloids are most common in people younger than 30. Black people, Asians, and Hispanics are more prone to developing keloids. Keloids often run in families. Sometimes, a person may not recall what injury caused a keloid to form.

What are the symptoms for Keloids?

A keloid may be:

  • Flesh-colored, red, or pink
  • Located over the site of a wound or injury
  • Lumpy 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 the sun during the first year after it forms. The darker color may not go away.

What are the current treatments for Keloids?

Keloids often do not need treatment. If the keloid bothers you, discuss your concern with a skin doctor (dermatologist). The doctor may recommend these treatments to reduce the size of the keloid:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatments
  • Radiation
  • Surgical removal
  • Silicone gel or patches

These treatments, especially surgery, sometimes cause the keloid scar to become larger.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Keloids?

Keloids usually are not harmful to your health, but they may affect how you look.

When should I contact a medical professional for Keloids?

Call your health care provider if:

  • You develop keloids and want to have them removed or reduced
  • You develop new symptoms

How do I prevent Keloids?

When you are in the sun:

  • Cover a keloid that is forming with a patch or adhesive bandage.
  • Use sunblock.

Continue to follow these steps for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for adults. Children may need up to 18 months of prevention.

Imiquimod cream may help prevent keloids from forming after surgery. The cream may also prevent keloids from returning after they are removed.

Keloid above the ear
Keloid - pigmented
Keloid - on the foot


Dinulos JGH. Benign skin tumors. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 20.

Patterson JW. Disorders of collagen. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 12.

  • Condition: Auricular Keloids
  • Journal: Acta otorrinolaringologica espanola
  • Treatment Used: Topical vs. Intralesional Mitomycin C
  • Number of Patients: 32
  • Published —
This study compared topical versus intralesional mitomycin C in the treatment of patients with auricular keloids (thickened scars on ears).
  • Condition: Keloid Scars
  • Journal: Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD
  • Treatment Used: Kynurenine Acid 0.5% (FS2) Cream
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
This study evaluated the use of kynurenine acid 0.5% (FS2) cream for the treatment of patients with keloid (thickened) scars.
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: Early Phase 1
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 15
  • Start Date: December 1, 2020
Primary Radiotherapy for the Treatment of Keloids: A Pilot Study
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 2
  • Intervention Type: Procedure, Drug
  • Participants: 30
  • Start Date: May 1, 2021
Efficacy of Autologous Adipose Derived Stromal Vascular Fraction in the Treatment of Keloids