Picture this. You're interested in getting your ears pierced and decided to do some research before making your big decision. In your avid Google searching, you come across one reoccurring term, keloids. After further looking, you see that this may be a side effect of getting your ears pierced.
Let's be honest here. We have all been down the rabbit hole when it comes to health and wellness, but it can be even more concerning when you think something as "simple and easy" as getting your ears pierced can turn into external scarring. That's why we want to break down all the ins and outs of keloids, from what they are to the healing process, and what can be done for you to not only avoid them but prevent any discomfort from piercing as well.
What are Keloids? And what causes them?
So what are keloids? Keloids are external scar tissue that forms over injuries after healing. They can be either lumpy or smooth, and while they aren't harmful to your health, they can be cosmetically challenging to deal with, especially if they are larger.
Keloids form after your skin suffers from some trauma. The trauma can be anything from surgery, blisters, acne, or in our case, piercings and are usually more prominent than the original wound. So while an ear piercing may be a tiny hole, a keloid can grow to be much larger than the piercing. What's even more important to know is that keloids can take weeks to months to develop fully, so even their starting size won't be what you end up having.
What are the symptoms?
Maybe you've already gotten your ears pierced, but you have some concerns that you may be developing a keloid. Here are a couple of symptoms to look out for:
- a localized area that is flesh-colored, pink, or red
- a lumpy or ridged area of skin that's raised
- a place that continues to grow larger with scar tissue over time
- an itchy patch of skin
Of course, symptoms look different for everyone, and like we pointed out earlier, keloids can take a long time to grow to their full size. So it's best to be vigilant and keep an eye on the area.
How to treat them
Keloids can be tricky to treat because if you go through getting them removed, that can lead to keloids growing back and sometimes more prominent than before. But with that being said, we want to present you with all the options you have in removing keloids.
- Injections of corticosteroids and other medicines: These injections are often part of a treatment plan for keloids. When injected into the keloid, these medicines help to shrink the scar.
- Surgical removal (keloid surgery): This treatment involves surgically cutting out the keloid. While this may seem like a permanent solution, it's essential to know that nearly 100% of keloids return after this treatment.
- Laser treatment: This can reduce the height and fade the color of a keloid.
- Silicone sheets and gels: These may be used along with pressure to prevent a keloid from returning.
- Cryotherapy: This treatment freezes the keloid from the inside out while saving the skin underneath it.
Of course, before you make any big decisions or do any at-home treatments, we highly suggest consulting with a doctor or dermatologist first.
What are the alternatives to piercing?
If, after reading this, you have been completely turned off from the idea of piercing, but you still want the look that earrings give, well, we have some great news for you. There are plenty of resources for you that can give you a piercing look. From clip-ons to ear cuffs, we have them all here at EARA for you to choose from. And not only is there a bountiful amount of options in cute clip ons, but there are a ton of clip-on types that will help in keeping pain and possible keloid formation to a minimum. Take a read of our blog Your Guide to Clip On Earrings to see what options will work best for you, and remember that piercings aren't the only way to get the looks you want.