What Can I Do About the Itching and Pain of the Keloids?

I am a 65 year old African American male with a serious keloid problem. They are my neck, shoulder, chest, lower stomach area and left arm.

Doctor Answers 4

Itching and painful keloid scars

Itching and pain most likey indicate that your keloid is in an active growth phase.  The first line of therapy in my office would include:


  1. Pulsed Dye Scar Laser
  2. Selective IIT

I would not recommend chemotherapy injections or radiation at this stage.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Managing symptoms of keloids

The best way to minimize the symptoms of keloids such as itching, burning or pain is to inject them with either cortisone or 5-FU. Speak to your dermatologist about your best treatment options.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Is it a keloid or a hypertrophic scar? Yes, it DOES matter!

Not all elevated, thickened scars are the same.  Scars that grow beyond the borders of the initial injury (incsion, cut, etc) are referred to as keloids.  They are not as common as hypertrophic scars but are more challenging to treat.  Steroid injections can provide benefit but surgery followed by radiation is sometimes required as well.  In contrast, hypertrophic scars are thickened, elevated scars that may be red in color or may be the color of your skin.  Hypertrophic scars occur commonly when there is tension across wounds such as on shoulders, elbows, knees, etc.  Hypertrophic scarring is also well recognized to occur from facelift incisions, and following breast or abdominal surgery.  In contrast to keloids, hypertrophic scars tend to respond well to medical therapy such as steroid injection, laser treatment, and occlusion with silicone dressings.  It is therefore important to make the distinction between hypertrophic scars and keloids. 

Brian Biesman, MD
Nashville Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Steroid Injections For Symptomatic Hypertrophic or Keloid Scars

Keloids can be very difficult to manage. Steroid injections directly into the keloid can improve symptoms such as pain and itching; steroids may also soften the keloids. Some of the body areas you describe are notorious for less than optimal healing, and have a greater frequency of widened scars, thickened scars, and/or symptomatic scars. Keloids can be excised, sometimes with good results, but results do vary and good post-operative follow-up is needed. Consult a plastic surgeon in your area that can review the options listed above, and make realistic recommendations for your best treatment options.

Best wishes, Ken Dembny

Kenneth Dembny, II, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.