At A Glance, Ear Keloids
- Best Results1 session (85% of cases)
- Treatment Recovery7 days
- Procedure Time30 -45 minutes
- Skin SpecialistDermatologist
- Duration of ResultsVariable - years
- AnaestheticNumbing + local blocks
- Back to WorkNext day
Ear Keloid Scars
Keloid scars are commonly found on the ears secondary to piercings. Fortunately, the majority of scars can be treated with surgical as well as non-surgical options. Pressure earrings will reduce recurrence. Excision followed with adequate post-operative care means that success is seen in over 85% of cases.
FactsFacts on ear keloids
- Keloid & hypertrophic scars are due to excessive collagen formation
- If you are prone to developing keloid scars, inform your doctor before any surgical procedures
- Large ear keloid scars respond best to surgical procedures such as excision
- Over 85% of keloids scars can be improved with surgery & pressure earrings
- Non-surgical options include silicone gel, lasers, anti-inflammatory injections, freezing & radiotherapy
Why do keloids people get keloids?
Keloids & hypertrophic scars are common in young people. They are due to excessive collagen production, resulting in a raised scar. Keloids by definition extend beyond the boundary of the scar, whilst hypertrophic scars lie within the scar line.
Trauma (such as ear piercings) can predispose patients to keloid scars. Other risk factors for keloids include –
- Gender. Females are more likely to get keloid scars.
- Ethnicity, more commonly seen in Asian and darker skin types.
- Age. Collagen production is accelerated in younger people compared to older patients.
- Inflammation and location; pressure areas such as the shoulders, back & chest areas are more prone to scarring.
- Thermal injury such as burns can elicit an exaggerated healing response.
- Surgical wounds
What are non-surgical options for keloid scars?
Keloids scars can respond to lasers & injections. For small scars on the ears, this may be a feasible option prior to the consideration of surgery. Treatment options include-
- Steroid injections. These are usually repeated at 6-8 weekly intervals.
- 5FU or chemotherapy injections. Repeated 6-8 weeks apart.
- Cryogen or cryoprobe, often in conjunction with steroid injections.
- Botox; this has been reported in the literature (low success rate).
- Silicone gel or sheeting, good as a prevention (Stratamark)
- CO2 fractional laser; in combination with anti-inflammatory steroids
- Microneedling with steroid drip
- Vascular laser +/- anti-inflammatory injections
- Radiotherapy (fractionated, 4-10 sessions)
- Verapamil or Bleomycin injections
The ideal treatment will depend on the location of the scar, the size, your age & your past treatment (failures).
How to treat resistant keloids on the ear?
My preferred option is to surgically remove a keloid from the ear using a scalpel or a cutting CO2 laser. However, this creates a new wound that will likely develop a keloid as well. When treated with surgery alone, keloids usually come back, hence the use of pressure earrings & silicone tape/gel post operatively.
Surgery involves an operation that takes 20-40 minutes to perform. I prefer to perform this under partial sedation (patient sedated, not me!). After excision (with minimal cautery), I then stitch the wound up (5-25 stitches). Removal of sutures should be done at 5-8 days after surgery, after which you will wear a pressure earring. The earrings are sourced in the United States, a few weeks prior to your surgery.
The combination of surgery & pressure earrings (worn for 3-6 months post surgery) will cure 80-85% of ear keloids. If one fails this combination, a step-up treatment is re-excision coupled with fractional radiotherapy.
How do you stop a keloid from growing?
As soon as the wound heals, begin using silicone sheets or gel. Applying silicone sheets or gel can help prevent keloids from forming and reduce the size of existing scars. You can buy these products without a prescription. Early use of anti-inflammatory creams can help; refer below.
View our Treatment Gallery
Why are pressure earrings important?
Pressure earrings after keloid removal will give you the highest cure rate (80-85%). These should be worn for a period of 3 to 6 months after surgery. Pressure earrings can be obtained via Etsy (or a Google search). Ideally, earrings should be worn for at least 12-18 hours per day.
Are creams effective in the treatment of scars?
Creams & gel can be effective in the management of small & early scars. Your GP can prescribe a steroid ointment such as Diprosone, use 7 nights on, with a one-week break. Continue for at least 3-4 cycles.
Silicone gel can help some cases of early & small earlobe keloids. A good brand is Stratagel. This can be combined with pressure earrings for the treatment of small keloid scars.
Do keloid scars go away on their own?
Spontaneous resolution is very rarely seen. Some keloids grow slowly, whilst others have rapid growth. This applies to ear keloids.
How do you flatten a keloid naturally?
The best natural method (that may work with very early & small keloids), is pressure. This can be achieved with tape, or for areas such as the ears a pressure earring. In the majority of cases, pressure alone will not treat larger more established scars, however pressure after a procedure gives a higher percentage of success.
Will I develop other keloid scars?
If you are prone to keloids or hypertrophic scarring, you are prone to develop more scars. This is especially true for surgical scars. Notify your doctor prior to any procedure. For women who are planning to have a c-section, plan ahead! Namely, have a treatment plan PRIOR to surgery. It is much easier to prevent or treat early scarring. Pressure tape, combined with silicone gel & vascular lasers can reduce the chances of scarring.
Davin’s take on ear keloid scars
This phenomenon is super common, especially in young girls. Early lumps can be prevented with simple silicone gel, pressure earrings, & topical anti-inflammatory ointments. The next stage is intralesional corticosteroids injections. This may be effective for small (5-8 mm) keloids. Larger scars require excision with post-surgical intervention. Pressure earrings post operatively will suffice (80% success rate). In severe/recurrent cases postoperative fractionated radiotherapy can be useful.
If you have ear keloids, you are prone to have exaggerated scarring elsewhere. Notify your doctor (or tattoo artist) prior to any procedure.
Join the conversation
Join Dr Davin Lim on Instagram to stay up to date