When a person has been wounded, the body’s natural response is to kick-start the healing process. If tissue damage has been sustained, often, a scar forms in its place. The tissue differs from the surrounding skin, and tends to be more fibrous, slightly raised, hairless and red (although the colour should fade to a silvery colour with time).
Instrumental to this healing process is collagen, which helps the body build reparative tissue to close the wound. Sometimes, this replacement tissue does not stop growing. It continues to develop, creating a lumpy, raised surface, and the scar tissue can invade the healthy surrounding tissue.
The end result is a scar which is actually larger than the original wound. Surgery can be problematic, as the scar can become even larger following invasive intervention. Everyone has the potential to develop keloid scarring, although those who have already got one are at more risk of developing another. People with dark skin are also more likely to develop keloid scarring.
A wound does not need to be large, either, for this type of scar to form. Those who know they are at risk should avoid any damage to the skin as far as it is possible, and this includes cosmetic procedures such as ear piercing or tattoos.