Shamea Morton’s radiant brown skin is the color of cocoa. And her beautiful daughter Shya shares that same rich complexion. But like many Black women, Shamea’s melanin puts her at a higher risk for keloid skin. After she gave birth to her baby girl, she developed a keloid over her c-section scarring site.
During an extremely vulnerable and transparent moment on Sunday night’s episode, the peach-adjacent RHOA star revealed it is one of her biggest insecurities.
“I have a c-section scar and because I’m so tiny it’s keloided and I don’t like it,” she revealed.
Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue around common skin injuries, including acne, piercings and surgical wounds like caesarean sections as mentioned by Shamea. African Americans are at higher risks to develop keloids, leading to cosmetic fears among many women.
“Many African American patients are afraid to have head and neck surgery or any facial cosmetic procedures for fear of developing keloids at the incision sites,” said Lamont R. Jones, M.D. vice chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford. “The cause of keloid formation is unknown, but it is believed to have a genetic component given the correlation with family history, prevalence in twins, and its predisposition in darker skin.”
“My skin is keloidal,” Nnenna N., 36 revealed in a candid conversation. “My first c-section, which was an emergency c-section, I had a midwife so I had to use whatever OBGYN who was on-call and I pleaded with him to not use staples knowing that my skin is keloidal. He did not use staples. My second go-round, I had an OB this time because I had to do a procedural c-section. We had a relationship and she was a Black woman, I told her before — I have keloids all over my body. She got me.”
“I think about the reality that I may end up with a keloid when I have a C-section. I had a laparoscopic myomectomy earlier this year and a few of the scars have puffed up into keloids. However, it’s something that I try not to think too deeply about because in the grand scheme of things, it will be worth it. Will I be self-conscious about it? Possibly. But I look at it as a possible side effect to make a miracle happen,” said Victoria Oluloye, 31.
C-section surgery has much evolved and become more common in the recent years, which is attributed to the advent of fetal heart monitors in the 70s, the option to schedule a c-section in advance and the belief that once you have a c-section you can only give birth by the same method. An estimated 32% of women give birth by c-section, according to the CDC. The healing process for a c-section incision varies from woman to woman. Some scars heal with minimal appearance while others may appear raised and glossy.
Innovative treatments to reduce the appearance of keloids have also risen in popularity. Keloids can be treated with creams, corticosteroid shots, silicone sheets, cryotherapy, surgical removal and a new medical trend-superficial radiation therapy. Superficial radiation therapy is a non-invasive treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) and keloids with Image-Guided Superficial Radiation Therapy.
“Keloids not only have a high recurrence rate, but they can be painful and significantly impact a person’s quality of life,” said Isabelle Raymond, Ph.D., Vice President, Clinical Development at Sensus Healthcare. “The power of this technology lies in our ability to deliver a precise, calibrated dose of superficial radiation therapy that penetrates only five millimeters below the skin’s surface. This study affirms Sensus’ commitment to further develop ways to treat patients who are afflicted with keloids in the most effective way possible.”
Shamea is like many postpartum women who find themselves gazing back at their body and it appears foreign to them.
Can you relate to Shamea’s struggle with accepting her new body?