Keloids form due to the overgrowth of scar tissues. When the skin is wounded, scar tissues form to cover the wound for protection. Occasionally, these scar tissues grow excessively to form keloids which are smooth, hard formations, slightly elevated and reddish purple in colour. 

Keloids can be much larger than the wound, irregular in shape, and tend to enlarge progressively. They don’t fade away like scars. They can appear anywhere on the skin that suffers a wound, but are usually found on the chest, shoulders, earlobes, and cheeks. 

Doctors are unaware of the exact cause of keloids but it may be caused by lack of communication by the cellular signals that control growth and proliferation. It is also understood to be hereditary. Keloids affect both genders, but are less common in elderly and children. People of Asian and African origin are thought to be more susceptible to keloids.

Keloids appear like dark coloured ridges on the skin that are slightly elevated and dome shaped. They have a smooth shiny top, and tend to be itchy, tender or even painful to touch. Sometimes keloids can develop recurrent infections with oozing of pus.
You may feel the need to visit a doctor for keloid if it causes irritation due to friction with clothing, continues to grow, or is a cosmetics concern or when it causes recurrent infections. Visit a doctor at the Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital if you feel the need to get it treated.
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.
Diagnosis for keloids includes a simple physical exam of the scarred area. Your doctor may also collect a tissue sample for biopsy to rule out the possibility of skin cancer.

You will probably prefer to remove the keloids, especially if they appear on an area of the body that is usually exposed, due to their unattractive appearance. There are several treatment options available starting from topical applications of creams, gels, injections in the tissue and cryotherapy.

Discuss your options with your doctor at the Teeth and Skin and Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital, who may be able to offer expert opinion on the treatment options.

The treatments available for keloids include:

  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and flatten the keloids. These injections may be given once every four to eight weeks into the keloids. The procedure is safe and relatively painless but the resulting skin will still feel quite different to the surrounding skin.

  • Cryosurgery in which the growth is frozen using liquid nitrogen. The procedure may flatten them but the resulting skin may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.

  • Surgery to remove the keloids. This is usually only performed on large keloids, as there is a risk that the procedure can trigger an even bigger growth of the keloids. Therefore radiation or steroid injections may be used post-surgery to prevent re-growth.

  • Silicone gel which can be applied on the keloids continuously for several months​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.