I found out I have keloid formation tendencies during my big sister’s wedding.
Oh no! I don’t want to remember it.
This was about twelve or fourteen years ago, we (my cousins and I) were carrying drinks from one point to another and unto some geh that her big sister was getting married traditionally, I was on heels, catwalking like some teenager on runway when I had the almighty fall.
That fall was epic for I sure don’t remember how it happened but the next thing I saw, was myself on the floor with broken bottles and drinks splashed everywhere.
I think I remember everyone being concerned that on our way home after the ceremony, I was taken to get tetanus injection and you don’t want to know how I ran around till I got the injection nor the number of people that held me down during the injection taking.
Well my fear for needles is a long story for another day but I remember that each passing day the areas on my skin that got injured weren’t necessarily going down.
Initially I wasn’t bothered but as I grew, I realized how serious it is for me to avoid any form of injury or skin trauma including acne breakouts or insect bites or even unknown lacerations of any sort.
I started reading up about it for back in secondary school/ high school, I remember getting those looks and questions like Chimnaza what happened to you.
How do I explain to young minds like mine then that I fell from doing shenanigan while carrying drinks instead of being extra careful or that I have a special skin which doesn’t allow me to play rough play.
I loathed P.Es and manual labors then because I always had injuries at the end of each activity but no senior back then was ready to hear or understand that kind of reason.
It was so annoying that when I took part in inter house sports back then which if my memory serves me right, I think I came third because I fell down, I didn’t only miss getting the first position I wanted but I ended up getting scars as a souvenir plus third position gift.
Just incase, I have ever told you not to hit/ flog me or play rough play with me this is the reason.
Well, I have always kept this to myself till mum said I could write about it hence this blog post.
So what’s keloid you ask?
A keloid scar is an enlarged, raised scar which can be pink, red, skin-coloured or darker than the surrounding skin to which the scar occured.
They are extra scar tissue grows, forming smooth, hard growths which can develop after very minor skin damage, such as an acne spot or a piercing, and spread beyond the original area of skin damage.
Keloid scars are more common on the upper chest, shoulders, head (especially the earlobes after a piercing) and neck, however they can happen anywhere.
Keloid scars are usually:
- raised above surrounding skin
- hard and rubbery
- red or purple at first, before becoming brown or pale
They can last for years, and sometimes do not form until months or years after the initial injury.
Though keloid scars may be itchy, they’re usually not harmful to health. An individual may experience discomfort, tenderness, or possible irritation from clothing or other forms of friction on the scarred area.
In rare case Keloid scarring can form on large areas of the body, that when it happens, the hardened, tight scar tissue may restrict movement.
Keloids are often more of a cosmetic concern than a health one.
It’s clearly unknown what causes keloid scars, but they happen when there’s overproduction of collagen (the skin’s protein). Keloids are neither contagious nor cancerous but the following are known risk factors:
- acne scars
- chickenpox scars
- ear piercing
- surgical incision sites
- vaccination sites
It is estimated that about 10 percent of people experience keloid scarring. Men and women are equally likely to have keloid scars. People with darker skin tones are more prone to keloids.
Other risk factors associated with keloid formation include:
- being of Asian descent
- being of Latino descent
- being pregnant
- being younger than 30 years of age
Keloids tend to have a genetic predisposition, which means one is more likely to have keloids if one or both parents have them.
According to a study, a gene known as the AHNAK gene plays a role in determining who develops keloids and who doesn’t.
Researchers found that people who have the AHNAK gene may be more likely to develop keloid scars than those who don’t.
Those known to have risk factors for developing keloids like myself are advised to avoid getting body piercings, unnecessary surgeries, and tattoos.
Are Keloids preventable?
Absolutely possible to prevent keloids, well from experience by avoiding rough plays, any skin cuts or breaks of any kind, as well as avoiding surgeries to areas which are prone to scarring like the upper chest, back and upper arms.
Taking care of face to avoid acne can help avoid keloids and someday I hope to blog about how I treated my worst acne breakout ever and tried keeping this chocolatey face of mine in proper condition ever since then.
It’s also advised that certain type of injection be taken to reduce the risk of keloid formation assuming one is to undergo surgery of any kind.
So you are probably wondering how keloids are treated.
First it’s important to know that treating a keloid scar gives room to another scar formation so what’s the point.
Nevertheless, I have read and heard that keloids or scars of any sort can be treated with “abuba eke” literally translated as python oil and I am yet to find where I can purchase this oil.
Please just incase you are African or Nigerian descent like myself and you know where I can buy this, HMU with it.
Though medically it’s believed that some treatments can help flatten out the scar if it’s too raised and they include use of
- steroid injections
- applying steroid-impregnated tape for 12 hours a day
- applying silicone gel sheeting for several months
Other options include:
- freezing early keloid scars with liquid nitrogen to stop them growing
- laser treatment to reduce redness (but this will not make the scar any smaller)
- surgery, sometimes followed by radiotherapy, to remove the scar (although it can grow back and may be larger than before).
Just incase you are too bothered about your keloids or they are in areas difficult to hide with clothings, visit your G.P and discuss your options.
This post is not in anyway encouraging anyone to ask me to show them where mine are, let’s be guided and I hope with this, I don’t get anymore question like “Chimnaza what happened to you”.
Till my next post…
Stay skin glowing and healthy