Keloid scars on the face and body. Could microneedling cause these?

Ma'am I am in my mid twenties & I have few keloids around my left shoulder formed around 7-8 years back. I have Acne scars all over my face. I recently met with a dermatologist who suggested Micro needle (MNRF) treatment for the same. I have a concern regarding the possibility of keloid formation on the face if I undergo the treatment. How worried should I be?

Thank you for asking this and reminding me to write about it. As many of you know, keloids are unsightly, large, raised scars that form at the site of skin injury (see here for more information).  Tough to get rid of once they form, it’s always better to try to prevent them in the first place. They are thought to be our bodies way of healing a wound… only it tries too hard, and generates too MUCH scar tissue.

Key pieces of information about keloids:

  • Keloids are rare before puberty or after the age of 40.
  • If you are between 12-13 and late 20s, your risk for forming a keloid is higher, especially if you have formed one before.
  • There’s genetic trend. If your parents formed them, you are more likely too. Ask them! 🙂
  • Keloids tend to form in certain areas. These are the most common areas –  the earlobes, the shoulders, upper back, upper arms, and the chest.
  • Keloids are less likely to form on the face.

For you, microneedling on the face only, may be safe as your dermatologist recommended. A test area could be done first, and then watch how it heals carefully for 3 months, before proceeding. Microneedling may be somewhat effective for shallow scars. In my opinion, if you have deeper scars, don’t waste your money on that and find a dermatologist near you who specializes in working with acne scars and lasers.

Preventing keloid formation:

  • Avoid injury and control acne (here are some acne products I recommend) well in those areas listed above which are high risk like the shoulders, chest, and upper back.
  • Keloids can form occasionally in tattoos.
  • If you want to pierce your ears before age 25, watch the area very carefully for signs of keloid formation. If one is starting to form, see your doctor right away. The earlier you start treatment the better.
  • If you pierce your ears, follow the infection control instructions carefully. An infection in the ear lobe will increase your chance of forming an abnormal scar.
  • Keloids can be improved and treated. Dermatologists have the most training and education in this.
  • It helps after an injury to use a good silicone based scar gel like the Siligen.

I hope this helps,   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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