As others have noted, effective treatment of keloids can be very difficult. The reason for this is that keloids are an abnormal response to injury, and area of scar tissue that grows beyond its natural boundaries. On examination of a piece of Keloid tissue under a microscope, it looks substantially different than the average scar. The initial phase of treatment is to slow the inflammation, ergo the use of several spaced injections. The next option is to excise the scar surgically (50% recurrence rate) or to treat with radiation. After excision, the area can be radiated and/or re-injected with steroid. Some Surgeons advocate placement of topical mitomycin and/or topical 5 flurouracil at the time of excision. Despite all of these options, keloids can and do recur.
The most common side effect of topical corticosteroid use is skin atrophy. All topical steroids can induce atrophy, but higher potency steroids, occlusion, thinner skin, and older patient age increase the risk. The face, the backs of the hands, and intertriginous areas are particularly susceptible. Resolution often occurs after discontinuing use of these agents, but it may take months. Concurrent use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A) % may reduce the incidence of atrophy from chronic steroid applications. 30 Other side effects from topical steroids include permanent dermal atrophy, telangiectasia, and striae.