Causes and Risk Factors
Although the exact cause of keloids in some people is unknown, doctors believe that these types of scars occur when fibroblasts, which are collagen-secreting cells found in our connective tissue, overreact to the injury. When skin is injured, fibrous tissue known as scar tissue forms over the incision to heal and protect the injury. However, in some situations, excess scar tissue grows, generating smooth, hard growths known as keloids.
Any skin injury that leaves a scar, such as a surgical cut, or any other type of cut, acne scars, chicken pox scars, burns, body piercings, tattoos, insect bites, vaccinations, or wearing tightly braided hair might result in the development of keloids if you are predisposed to them.
Rarely, keloids can develop spontaneously on uninjured skin. These are known as spontaneous keloids.
The following are risk factors that raise your likelihood of acquiring keloids:
- Being of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
- Having a family history of keloids
- Being between the ages of 10 and 30
- Most people first notice keloids developing on their skin in their 20s, though these scars can start earlier or later
Will They Go Away on Their Own?
While keloids rarely go away on their own, they may flatten and soften over time but rarely disappear completely. For some people, these natural changes are enough to make keloids look better but, even so, the skin never looks the same as before. Keloids can continue to grow for months or even years before they eventually stop growing. But they do not disappear without treatment.
Even though keloids are benign (noncancerous) growths, they are still challenging to treat. They may also recur after being surgically removed. However, your dermatologist may be able to recommend steps that can help decrease the likelihood of keloids returning after treatment or at least ways to minimize their appearance.