Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is a Tattoo Keloid?

A tattoo keloid is an overgrowth of scar tissue that arises after getting inked, often presenting as a raised area on the skin. This can occur due to the body's heightened healing response. While not common, it's crucial to understand the risks and prevention strategies. Curious about how to identify and treat a tattoo keloid? Keep reading to uncover these insights.
B. Chisholm
B. Chisholm

A tattoo keloid is basically a raised scar at the site of a tattoo which occurs in some people due to an over-production of scar tissue while the tattoo heals. It is not known what makes some people form keloids while others don't. A person who has previously developed a keloid should avoid getting more tattoos.

The process of tattooing, which is the placement of a picture or symbol on the skin of the body, should only be performed by a trained person, under sterile conditions. It involves using a needle to insert ink in the under layer of the skin, or dermis, marking it permanently. Depending on the size and complexity of the chosen tattoo, the process can take minutes to many hours and may involve multiple punctures into the skin.

Tattoos should only be performed by a trained professional under sterile conditions.
Tattoos should only be performed by a trained professional under sterile conditions.

The process of wound healing and formation of a scar involves numerous processes within the skin, both building-up or anabolic, and breaking down or catabolic. A fine balance needs to be maintained in order for the resultant scar to be as inconspicuous as possible. In the case of a tattoo keloid, or any keloid after an injury for that matter, this balance is off and results in excess fibrous tissue which extends above and around the area of injury which can be disfiguring.

A tattoo machine.
A tattoo machine.

Removal of a keloid is not easy and may not be complete. Medical advice, probably from a plastic surgeon, will need to be sought; they will recommend the treatment likely to have the best effect according to the severity and location of the tattoo keloid. Excision, or cutting out the scar, generally results in reformation of the keloid, but in combination with intralesional corticosteroid injection, may heal more successfully.

A person who has previously developed a keloid should avoid getting more tattoos.
A person who has previously developed a keloid should avoid getting more tattoos.

Intralesional injection of a corticosteroid on its own, that is, injecting it directly into the tattoo keloid, may be effective. The use of silicon dressing over the keloid and pressure therapy may also help to resolve a keloid. Other treatments which may be effective include laser therapy, cryotherapy and possibly light therapy. Often, though, the keloid cannot be completely removed.

Cryotherapy can be used to eliminate scar tissue.
Cryotherapy can be used to eliminate scar tissue.

The best way to avoid tattoo keloids is to not get a tattoo. A person who has previously developed a keloid after any type of skin injury is not advised to get a tattoo as they are more likely to develop a keloid after having a tattoo. Should unusual scarring occur after having a tattoo, medical advice should be sought immediately.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

burcinc

Some people get tons of tattoos and piercings with no problems and some people get keloids. A part of it is pure luck and the other part is proper after-care in my opinion. Keeping the tattoo clean will help prevent it.

literally45

@ysmina-- I don't think there is any way to know beforehand. Are you African American? My sister is a tattoo artist and she says that her African American clients seem to be more prone to scarring and keloid formation. I'm not sure if this is true, but it might be something to think of.

Since you already have a keloid, I agree with your mom that you are at risk of getting another one. I know you want a tattoo, but if you get a keloid, the tattoo is going to look bad and it's very difficult to fix.

ysmina

Is there a way to check if someone will develop a keloid from a tattoo before the tattoo is done? Is there some kind of test?

I want to get a tattoo, I've been wanting this since high school. I've even selected my designs. The only thing that's preventing me is that I have a keloid from an injury I had in childhood. I had treatment for the keloid but it's still mostly there.

My my thinks that because of this, I'm likely to get a keloid from a tattoo as well. But the tattoo artist I've talked to said that not every part of the body heals the same way and he has never seen a keloid on his customers. I just wish that there was a way to know for sure.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Tattoos should only be performed by a trained professional under sterile conditions.
      By: Fabio Barni
      Tattoos should only be performed by a trained professional under sterile conditions.
    • A tattoo machine.
      By: Aleksandr Lobanov
      A tattoo machine.
    • A person who has previously developed a keloid should avoid getting more tattoos.
      By: BlueSkyImages
      A person who has previously developed a keloid should avoid getting more tattoos.
    • Cryotherapy can be used to eliminate scar tissue.
      By: Gordon Lau
      Cryotherapy can be used to eliminate scar tissue.
    • Individuals who receive tattoos in states that do not regulate tattoo facilities should wait 12 months before donating blood.
      By: Gina Sanders
      Individuals who receive tattoos in states that do not regulate tattoo facilities should wait 12 months before donating blood.