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Hypertrophic Scarring and Keloids

It’s easy to get hypertrophic scars and keloids confused, but they’re two different things. It’s important to know the differences between these two types of scars so that if you develop a growth around a new piercing, you can identify it and treat it effectively.

What is a keloid?

Irritation Around a Belly Ring That Could Be Mistaken for a Keloid

A keloid is a nodular, smooth-surfaced growth that can form around piercings, scars, and various other minor skin traumas; they’re typically darker than the skin around them. Some people get them, but most don’t. The reaction tends to be genetic and can develop for up to a month or more after a piercing or other skin trauma occurs.

The good thing is that keloids aren’t malignant and they typically don’t hurt. They’re just unsightly, and they might be itchy and a bit tender.  Keloids can form nearly anywhere on the body, so they can cause additional problems depending on the location of a piercing. For example, a keloid that develops around a tongue piercing could make it hard to eat and talk.

Keloid That Formed Around an Ear Piercing

Keloids typically require medical attention to remove or minimize. Here are some of the professional treatment options:

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Laser treatments
  • Freezing
  • Surgical removal

 

 

What is a hypertrophic scar?

Hypertrophic Scar That Formed Around a Nostril Piercing

A hypertrophic scar can form around a healing wound or piercing just like a keloid, but they don’t often grow past a piercing like keloids do — they’re usually flat and pale. If there is a lot of tension on a hypertrophic scar, it can become even harder to the touch.

Hypertrophic scars are typically a temporary reaction to a piercing that will go away with proper care and time. Sometimes the solution in treating hypertrophic scars is as easy as following these simple tips:

  • Change your jewelry to relieve pressure on the piercing
  • Cleanse the piercing with an aftercare spray or homemade sea salt solution with or without tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic & moisturizer)
  • Apply collagen-reducing steroid creams (or as an injection by a professional, if needed)1.5oz spray bottle of Recovery Saline Wash Solution

If the bump around your piercing hurts or oozes pus and/or blood, you more than likely have an infection and may need an antibiotic in addition to several sea salt solution applications a day.

In any case, you should consult your piercer or doctor to find out definitively which condition you have and make sure you get the proper treatment.


Sources:
http://dermnetnz.org/dermal-infiltrative/keloids.html
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000849.htm
http://wiki.bme.com/index.php?title=Hypertrophic_Scarring