Keloid is an overgrowth of the scar tissue that develops around a wound, usually after the wound has healed. It is an abnormal type of wound healing, which results in a large, soft growth where the skin has been damaged. It is particularly common in people with dark skin.

Keloid typically starts to develop about three months after the original skin damage although it can take up to a year. The first thing you will probably notice is that rubbery scar tissue starts growing beyond the borders of the original damage. It may become tender, itchy, and painful or produce a burning sensation. Sometimes keloid develops without any apparent skin injury, although most people can identify a cause.
Growth continues for a few weeks to a few months. The growth is usually slow but occasionally there is rapid enlargement over a few months. Once they stop growing most keloid scars remain the same size or get smaller.
Typical areas they develop are:
  • Behind the ears after ear piercing.
  • On the breastbone after chickenpox, acne, or an injury.
  • On the side of the shoulder (deltoid) after a vaccination.


Dermatologists may inject a corticosteroid solution directly into a hypertrophic scar or keloid, which may help reduce its size. Steroids break the bonds between collagen fibers, which reduces the amount of scar tissue beneath the skin. Steroids also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling, redness, itching, or tenderness.​

Dermatologists recommend getting steroid injections every four to six weeks, limiting the total number of injections to five. The procedure takes about 15 minutes, and often no anaesthesia is required.​