How do you get rid of ear keloids?

Humans are able to hear sounds thanks to the ear. The shape of the ear plays a role in amplifying sound and locating the source of the sound. The ear shape also funnels the sound into the ear canal. Without this “funnelling” effect, sound waves would take a more direct route into the ear canal, which would drive too much into the ear making it difficult for humans to understand any sound at all. Ear is also a favourite body part for both men and women to wear accessories. In this DoctorOnCall’s article, we will be learning about one of the things that can happen after using ear accessories known as ear keloids.

Keloid develops when scar tissue builds up after skin puncture or wound. Keloid is unlike any other type of raised scars. Keloids are typically larger than the original wound. Keloids can form any part of the body but often develop on the ears after a person gets a piercing. Keloids may occur anywhere from the earlobe to the cartilage.

Keloids are a result of excessive collagen formation in the process of tissue repair and wound healing. Keloid is common in young people. It is unclear why keloid is more common in some people compared to others. Some people find that they develop keloid after minor wounds such as acne spots whereas others may never experience keloid at all. Ear piercing is the most common reason for keloids to develop on the ear in those who are already prone to form it. This may be due to the way the wound heals. Another reason is due to the local inflammatory reaction to the metallic backs of earrings. Keloid has familial tendency which means if a person has parents with keloid, their children are also likely to have keloids.

Keloid typically appears slowly and may take 3 to 12 months before it can be visible. Keloid may start to develop shortly after the wound but it usually takes months before it becomes prominent. First sign of keloid is usually thickening skin. 20{f4b289ed46e673c35f245518203cf70ecdc3e5319eb00570f348083093271e65} of keloid scars appear more than a year after an injury. Keloid on the ear often begins as a raised scar with pink, red or purple colour, have the shape of round or oval, feel soft or hard and eventually darken in colour than the surrounding skin. Keloid grows for weeks or months after the first appearance and few grow for years. Keloids may cause pain and itching. Symptoms tend to end when keloid stops growing but not always. Once keloid stops growing, it tends to remain the same size. Unlike other scars, keloid rarely fades without treatment.

Treatment often revolves around removal of the keloid through surgery. Keloid surgery can remove the keloid but nearly 100{f4b289ed46e673c35f245518203cf70ecdc3e5319eb00570f348083093271e65} of keloids will return after the surgical removal. However, this procedure may cause larger keloid scars since the operation will create new wounds. Thus, doctors or dermatologists may use a combination of treatment options to remove the keloid. This includes injections of corticosteroids, laser treatment, cryotherapy and surgical thread. Injection of corticosteroid or cryotherapy can help reduce the chances of keloid returning after the keloid surgery. Cryotherapy is a procedure of freezing the keloid and typically works best on smaller keloids.  Silicone gel sheets may be applied to a new keloid, applied after an injury or after another treatment such as keloid surgery to prevent keloid from developing or returning. It is worth noting that there is no treatment that can consistently get rid of keloid. There is not a single treatment that always prevents keloid from returning after getting treated. One thing for sure, if any of the newer treatments could help patients, doctors or dermatologists may have discussion with patients regarding this especially when other treatments failed.

It is important for patients who already have ear keloid to understand that they can develop another keloid scar in future apart from the ear. Thus, it is crucial for patients to take preventative steps to avoid developing keloid. It is best to prevent ear piercing by skipping on piercing on any part of the ears. However, if patients are still keen on getting one, they should take extra steps on reducing the risk for developing keloid. This includes paying attention to the skin of the ears after getting a new piercing. Whenever there is thicken skin on the site of the pierced area, immediately remove the earring and start wearing pressure earring instead. This pressure earring has to be worn at least 12 (preferably 20) hours a day for 4 to 6 months. If a person has a wound on the ear, the wound needs to be taken care of by washing the area with soap and water, bandaging the wound with petrolatum gauze and applying silicone sheets or silicone gel as the wound begins to heal. It is important to keep the wound area clean at all times by cleaning every day.

In essence, getting rid of ear keloid is no easy task. Treatment options do help to remove it but there is always the possibility of the patient developing it again in future. The best way to get rid of it is to take preventative measures.


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