Treatments for keloids?
August 27, 2006 11:53 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for, experiences with, treatments for keloid scarring? Especially in Bay Area, California. This is for my foster son (biracial, black), who has scarring on his ears associated with pierced ears. We're meeting with a plastic surgeon at SF General, but surgery is not supposed to have a very high success rate for keloids. (The internet says injected steroids and pressure clips.) Also, his medical coverage is MediCal.
posted by ClaudiaCenter to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I'm prone to keloid scarring myself, and years ago a Nurse told me to use Cocoa Butter, and it did reduce the scar I was concerned about.

Wikipedia also mentions Cocoa Butter as supposedly helping. Best of luck!
posted by Mutant at 12:34 AM on August 28, 2006

I am not black, but I do have some experience with that type of scarring, also associated with piercing.

My understanding is that surgery has a very low success rate and often just exacerbates the scars, making them much worse.

What has worked for me--and others that I've talked to--is doing a several times daily massage with Vitamin E oil. I'm sure cocoa butter serves the same purpose. Olive oil also works.

Basically, you just put a bit of oil/butter on the scar, and massage it--firmly--with your fingers for a few minutes, a few times a day.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:09 AM on August 28, 2006

Oh, and the whole reason I said 'I am not black' is because keloiding is much more prevalent in black skin, as the OP seems to know. It's also much harder to treat in people with black skin because of the predisposition to it.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:11 AM on August 28, 2006

I agree about the Vitamin E oil - but I was advised (in relation to scarring on my hand) to buy the Vitamin E capsules that you'd take as a supplement, pop the capsule with a pin and massage the oil in from there. It contains a far higher concentrate of Vitamin E than body oil.
posted by essexjan at 6:15 AM on August 28, 2006

my sister reacted to an injection in high school with a keloid scar on her shoulder ; cue a number of trips to a plastic suregry unit, a few operations and a scar about 4 or 5 times the original. After that, she had steriod treatment at a different hospital, which reduced it back to maybe twice the original size.

when i had the same injection 7 years later, I also reacted with a keloid scar which has now faded over time and can only be seen if i bend my arm in a certain way.

IANAD but i would urge caution....
posted by khites at 6:25 AM on August 28, 2006

I had a small keloid - caused by an ear piercing - removed by a surgeon about ten years ago. The procedure took about 5 minutes, and the site never developed complications of any kind - I would call it a complete success. (And it was performed by a "regular" doctor, not a plastic surgeon.)
Your foster son's experience may differ, but mine was entirely unproblematic.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:28 AM on August 28, 2006

IANAD but I also had a decently sized keloid develop on both sides of an upper ear cartilage piercing. FWIW, I am half irish and half ?? (adoption, but that's a whole different story).

After putting off dealing with it until it was rather big (size of a small marble on either side of the ear) and nicknaming it my "ear baby", I got referred to a surgeon.

I went in for a look-see and then a few weeks later I was under the knife. Just a bit of local anesthetic and five minutes later, I had replaced my ear baby with a much smaller, conventional looking scar. The doctor told me to watch it closely for any changes and that it could re-occur as much as 5 years later.

It has been 2 or 3 years now and the scar looks identical to how it did within a few weeks of the surgery and so far there is no indication of a re-occurance.

There were no steroid injections or clamps or anything, just slice slice and it was gone.
posted by utsutsu at 8:51 AM on August 28, 2006

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