What is keloids?

Keloids are benign fibrous tumors (non-cancerous) of the skin. These are big marks or unsightly scars that appear on old wounds (scars after surgery, chickenpox, burns, piercings and ear holes) resulting from excess scar tissue. A keloid scar is benign, non-contagious and often followed by severe itching or even sharp pain; its texture evolves over time. Keloids often cause major discomfort to patients, especially when they affect uncovered areas.

The cause of keloids

Keloids appear after the abnormal healing of a wound. The formation of the keloid scar is caused by the excessive production of a protein: collagen. The keloid scar appears when the collagen is totally disorganized. When there is injury or damage to the skin, fibrous tissues also called scar tissue multiply on the wound to speed up the healing process. There is then a kind of runaway of the normal healing system which is no longer controlled by the regulation systems. The excessive proliferation of scar tissue becomes a keloid scar. To date, the exact process by which this unusual scarring occurs has not yet been elucidated.

However, some people are more at risk. People with black skin (African or Afro-American), Hispanics or Asian people are more likely to have keloids than others. The pubertal period and pregnancy are also factors that favor keloid scars but men are as affected as women.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)


What is the link between keloids and cancer?

Keloids are usually non-cancerous. The progression to cancer of a keloid is rare but is possible.

What is the link between keloids and tattoos?

Tattooing is a break-in that aims to introduce dyes and pigments under the skin. After the tattoo, it occurs naturally, a scarring. When this healing is pathological, it can cause keloid scars or keloids. We do not recommend you to do a tattoo if you have already had keloids.

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