If you have ever dealt with a keloid, you know just how frustrating and uncomfortable they can be. These thick, raised scars can form as a result of an injury, such as a cut or burn, and can be quite challenging to treat. While there are various treatment options available, sometimes things can go wrong, leading to undesirable outcomes. In this article, we will explore some common scenarios where keloid treatment goes wrong and discuss the potential causes and solutions.

1. Allergic Reactions to Medications

In some cases, individuals may develop allergic reactions to medications used in keloid treatment. This can manifest as severe itching, redness, or even blistering around the keloid area. Allergic reactions can occur due to individual sensitivity to certain ingredients or components of the medication. If you experience such symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention to avoid further complications.

One solution to this problem is to undergo patch testing before starting any medication for keloid treatment. Patch testing involves applying a small amount of the medication on a small section of your skin to check for any adverse reactions. This can help identify potential allergies and prevent further complications during treatment.

2. Infections

Another unfortunate outcome that can occur during keloid treatment is the development of infections. Since keloids are scars, they disrupt the normal integrity of the skin, making it more susceptible to bacterial or fungal infections. Infections can lead to increased redness, swelling, pain, and even discharge.

To minimize the risk of infections, it is crucial to maintain good hygiene practices during keloid treatment. Clean the affected area regularly with a mild soap and water, and avoid touching it with dirty hands. Additionally, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotic or antifungal medications to prevent or treat infections. If you suspect an infection, seek prompt medical attention to prevent it from worsening.

3. Excessive Scarring

One goal of keloid treatment is to reduce the size and appearance of the scar. However, in some cases, treatment can result in excessive scarring or the development of new keloids. This can be quite disheartening and may require additional interventions to address.

One potential cause of excessive scarring is the overuse or misuse of certain treatment modalities, such as steroid injections. While steroids can effectively reduce inflammation and shrink keloids, excessive or inappropriate doses can actually lead to a negative response, causing more scarring.

To avoid excessive scarring, it is essential to follow your healthcare provider's instructions carefully. Stick to the recommended treatment plan and discuss any concerns or unexpected reactions with your provider. They can make adjustments or suggest alternative options to prevent further complications.

4. Changes in Skin Pigmentation

Another unfavorable outcome of keloid treatment is changes in skin pigmentation, commonly referred to as hypo- or hyperpigmentation. This can occur due to the disruption of melanin production during the healing process. As a result, the treated area may become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.

While changes in pigmentation may subside over time, they can be permanent in some cases. One way to minimize the risk of pigmentation changes is to protect the treated area from excessive sun exposure. Wearing sunscreen and clothing that covers the affected area can help prevent further discoloration.

5. Scar Discomfort

Some individuals may experience discomfort or pain in the keloid or treated area following certain treatment modalities. This can include sensations like itching, tenderness, or even sharp pains. Scar discomfort can significantly impact a person's quality of life and overall well-being.

If you are experiencing scar discomfort, it is important to communicate this to your healthcare provider. They can adjust the treatment plan or provide additional interventions to alleviate the pain. In some cases, pain management techniques such as topical numbing creams or pain medications may be recommended.

6. Recurrence of Keloids

One of the most frustrating scenarios in keloid treatment is the recurrence of the scar even after successful initial treatment. Keloids have a tendency to come back, even after they have been surgically removed or treated with other modalities.

One possible explanation for keloid recurrence is incomplete removal or treatment of the entire scar tissue. In some cases, keloids may extend beyond what is visible on the surface, making complete eradication challenging. Additionally, certain individuals may have a genetic predisposition to keloid formation, making them more prone to recurrence.

To address keloid recurrence, combination therapies and long-term management plans may be necessary. This can involve the use of different treatment modalities, such as surgery, steroid injections, radiation therapy, or cryotherapy. Working closely with your healthcare provider can help develop an individualized plan to minimize the chances of recurrence.

7. Emotional and Psychological Impact

Dealing with keloid treatment gone wrong can have a significant emotional and psychological impact on individuals. The frustration of unsuccessful treatment, the physical discomfort, and the visible scars can contribute to feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression.

It is important to acknowledge and address the emotional and psychological impact of keloid treatment complications. Seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals can be beneficial. Additionally, participating in support groups or online communities with individuals facing similar challenges can provide a sense of community and understanding.

8. Seeking Legal Advice

In rare cases, when keloid treatment goes drastically wrong due to medical malpractice or negligence, seeking legal advice may be necessary. If you believe that your healthcare provider did not follow standard protocols or failed to provide appropriate care, consulting with a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice can help determine if you have a valid claim.

It is crucial to gather all relevant medical records, documentation of conversations or instructions given by your healthcare provider, and any supporting evidence to support your case. Legal professionals can guide you through the process and help you understand your options for seeking compensation or justice in such situations.


1. Can keloid treatment be completely successful?

Keloid treatment success varies from person to person. While some individuals may achieve significant improvement in the appearance and symptoms of keloids, complete eradication may not always be possible. Recurrence is a common challenge in keloid treatment, requiring long-term management.

2. Are there any alternative treatments or home remedies for keloids?

While there are alternative treatments and home remedies that some individuals try, the effectiveness and safety of these options are not well established. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting any alternative treatments to get a proper evaluation and guidance.

3. Can keloids be prevented?

Preventing keloids completely may not be possible, especially for individuals who are genetically predisposed to keloid formation. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk, such as avoiding unnecessary skin traumas and adopting proper wound care techniques.


1. American Academy of Dermatology. Keloids: Overview.

2. Mayo Clinic. Keloids: Diagnosis and Treatment.

3. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Keloid Treatment.

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