Keloids are benign tumors that occur when scar tissue grows excessively. While they can form after trauma to the skin, such as burns, piercings, and surgery, keloids can also develop spontaneously. They usually appear as raised, firm, rubbery bumps on the skin anywhere on the body, including the face. In some cases, keloids can be painful or itchy. Although harmless, many people choose to have keloids removed for cosmetic reasons.
There is no sure way to prevent keloids from forming and, unfortunately, they are difficult to treat, often recurring after treatment. However, some treatments can help shrink or improve the appearance of existing keloids. Standard treatment options include corticosteroid injections, cryotherapy, laser therapy, and surgery. Surgery is usually reserved for large or painful keloids that do not respond to other treatments. The problem lies in the fact that existing treatment options result in injury to the skin, which, in turn, often reacts to producing more keloids.
However, botox filler injections, while initially intended for use as facial injectables, show promise in keloid treatment. Botox works by temporarily paralyzing the muscles around the keloid, preventing the muscle from contracting and pulling the skin taut. As a result, Botox can help reduce the appearance of existing keloids and may also help prevent new ones from forming. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that using Botox in an off-label manner like this produces "good results" for dermatological patients.
How Does Botox Work?
During a Botox treatment for keloids, a small amount of botulinum toxin is injected into the affected area with a very fine needle. The needle used is much finer than those used for other keloid treatments, like corticosteroid injections, and does not irritate the skin. It is important to note that Botox will not remove existing keloids but can help improve their appearance by making them smaller and less noticeable.
While the effects of Botox as facial injectables usually last for three to four months on fine lines and wrinkles, another NIH report reveals that Botox filler injections used in keloid treatment can last up to six years before another round of Botox filler may be necessary to maintain results.
Are There Any Side Effects?
The most common side effect of facial injectables, including Botox filler used for keloid treatment, is bruising at the injection site, which usually goes away within a few days and can be covered with makeup if necessary. Other rare side effects may include temporary numbness or weakness in the treated area, headache, or dizziness immediately following injection. These side effects usually resolve within a few hours and do not require any additional treatment beyond rest and over-the-counter pain medication if necessary.
The bottom line is that Botox is a safe and effective treatment option for people who want to improve the appearance of their keloids without resorting to surgery. If you are considering Botox filler injections for your own keloid treatment, be sure to consult with a qualified dermatologist who has experience with this procedure.