Keloids: Care Instructions

Skip Navigation

Your Care Instructions

Keloids are the excess growth of scar tissue where the skin has healed. Keloids can form where the skin is damaged due to a surgery cut, burn, chickenpox, or acne. For some people, even a scratch can lead to keloids. Keloids are most commonly found on the upper chest and back. They are most likely to form in dark-skinned people, but anyone can get them.

Keloids can rub against your clothes and become irritated, itchy, or painful. Keloids exposed to the sun may turn darker than the rest of your skin. The dark color may stay.

Keloids do not become cancer. They do not need treatment unless they bother you. Your doctor may treat small keloids by freezing them or injecting them with medicine. Large keloids may need other treatments, such as surgery. Treatment for keloids can also cause keloids to form.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Keep wounds clean and dry to prevent infection.
  • If you tend to get keloids, cover cuts and other damage to the skin with a silicone gel bandage. Cut the silicone gel slightly bigger than the skin wound. Cover the silicone gel with a bandage or wrap to keep pressure on the cut or other injury.
  • If you get keloids, you may want to avoid body piercings, tattoos, or any surgery you do not need. Keloid scarring can happen after these procedures.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the wound.
    • Pus draining from the wound.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter E474 in the search box to learn more about "Keloids: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.