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A keloid is a type of raised scar.
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You can also get a keloid from a tattoo. To seal the ink into your skin, the artist pierces your skin again and again with a needle. This process creates many tiny injuries where keloids can form. Keloids are hard and raised. They have a smooth and shiny surface, and they can hurt or itch.
The extra pressure makes the scar thicker than usual.
The practice of inking over a keloid is called scar tattooing. It takes a lot of skill and time to safely and artfully tattoo over a keloid. Otherwise, you might reinjure your skin.
Choose a tattoo artist skilled at working with keloids. In the wrong hands, the tattoo might damage your skin even more and make the scar worse.
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If you already have a tattoo, watch for thickening skin that looks rounded over the inked area. If you do see a keloid start to form, talk to your tattoo artist about getting a pressure garment. These tight clothes may help minimize scarring by compressing your skin. Cover up the tattoo with clothing or a bandage whenever you go outside. UV light from the sun can make your scars worse. As soon as the tattoo healscover the area with silicone sheets or gel. Silicone can help slow the activity of fibroblasts and collagen formation, which cause scarring.
Pressure garments apply force to the area of skin. This prevents your skin from thickening further. Silicone sheets reduce the production of collagen, the protein that comprises scar tissue. They also prevent bacteria from getting into the scar. Bacteria can trigger excess collagen production.
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You can also see a dermatologist with experience treating keloids — specifically tattoo-related keloids, if possible. They may be able to recommend other reduction techniques. Ointments containing herbs such as betasitosterol, Centella asiaticaand Bulbine frutescens may promote wound healing. Your provider may need to use more than one of these methods to fully remove the scar — and even then it may come back.
Talk to your provider about prescription imiquimod cream Aldara. This topical may help prevent keloids from returning after removal surgery. Keloid removal can also be expensive. Your insurer may consider paying for part or all of the removal process if the scar affects your movement or function.
Removing a keloid that has grown on a tattoo may have a negative effect on the ink.
It ultimately depends on how close the keloid is to the tattoo and which removal technique is used. Laser therapy, for example, may have a blurring effect on the ink. It may also fade or remove the color entirely. The odds of them growing back depend on what removal method you used. Many keloids grow back within five years after corticosteroid injections.
Almost percent of keloids return after surgical excision. Using more than one treatment method can increase the likelihood of permanent removal.
For example, getting corticosteroid injections or cryotherapy and wearing pressure garments after surgery can help reduce your risk for return. However, keloids can affect the way your skin looks. And depending where they grow, they could interfere with your movement. Between deciding where you want it, finding your artist, and practicing good aftercare, a lot goes into getting a tattoo.
Here's what to expect. Depending on appearance, some people may want to get rid of the keloids they have. Tattoo aftercare starts as soon as your tattoo is done.
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Learn how to care for your tattoo, what to expect in the first month, the s of infection…. Thinking about getting a tongue tattoo? Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. Get the details on stick poke tattoos, including why you may want to skip the DIY versions.
It can take as long as 2 years for a belly button piercing to heal completely. During that time, you're at risk for infection. Health Conditions Discover Plan Connect. Medically reviewed by Stacy Sampson, D. Keloid Keloid picture Keloid vs. What exactly is a keloid? What does a keloid look like?
Share on Pinterest. Is a keloid the same as a hypertrophic scar? What does a hypertrophic scar look like? Can you get a tattoo if you have keloid-prone skin?
Can you tattoo over or near a keloid? How do you prevent keloids from forming? What should you do if a keloid forms on or near your tattoo?
What’s the relationship between keloids, scars, and tattoos?
Can topical products help shrink keloids? Is keloid removal possible? Will my tattoo get ruined during keloid removal? Can keloids grow back after removal? The bottom line. Read this next. How to Get Rid of Keloids.
Medically reviewed by Catherine Hannan, M. Tattoo Infection: Tips for Identification and Treatment. Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph. Thinking About a Tongue Tattoo? Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph. Read This First. Medically reviewed by Jenneh Rishe, RN.