A keloid scar is descrined as a firm, rubbery lesion made of hard fibrous scar tissue. Keloids continue to grow even after the skin has healed. They can be caused by acne, burns, piercings, surgery, vaccinations, and even from minor scratches or cuts. However, the exact cause of keloids is still unknown.
Keloid scars occur due to excessive collagen deposits. They rise above the rest of the skin and they usually have a smooth top, are tough to the touch and have a pink or purple color. Keloids are not necessarily painful but can be irritated by clothing or any rubbing. They are irregularly shaped and tend to enlarge progressively.
You may want to learn how to get rid of keloids because they can be difficult to live with, especially if the scar is in an exposed location on your body. Fortunately, you can try some home remedies and medical treatments to get rid of keloids.
Home Remedies for Keloids
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant and an astringent that makes it a great antiseptic and an excellent home remedy to get rid of keloids. It helps minimize the redness and even the size of the keloid scar.
- Mix three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of water in a cup.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the solution on the scar.
- Allow it to dry up on its own, and then rinse it off with water.
- Apply this remedy three times daily for one month.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon has vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that has been found to help get rid of different types of scars, including keloid scars (1). This natural scar treatment lightens the top layer of skin cells, causing the scar to look less noticeable.
- Extract the juice of a whole lemon.
- Place the juice on the scar.
- Wash the area with lukewarm water.
- Repeat the process twice a day for best results.
3. Vitamin E
- Apply Vitamin E oil or cream to the scar twice a day for 2-3 months.
- Vitamin E oil can be bought in health food stores, and many major grocery stores.
- You can also purchase Vitamin E capsules, and cut them open and squeeze the oil onto the scar. Each capsule should be good for a few applications.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used as an effective remedy for keloid scars because it promotes the growth of new skin cells (5). It also acts as an exfoliating agent and keeps your skin from dead cells and dirt.
- Mix three teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide one teaspoon of baking soda to make a smooth paste.
- Apply the paste on the scar using a cotton ball.
- Leave it on for at least 15 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Apply this remedy 3-4 times a day for one month to get rid of keloid scars.
Garlic can be used as an effective remedy to shrink keloid scars (6). A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that garlic extract prevents the excessive fibroblast proliferation – one of the main reasons why keloids take place.
- Apply 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic on the scar and leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Pat dry and then apply some moisturizing lotion.
- Apply this remedy once a day for one month to get best results.
You can also use garlic oil to get rid of keloids.
- Apply garlic oil on the scar.
- Leave the oil on for 10 minutes.
- Then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is very effective for treating keloids because it keeps your skin moisturized and encourages healthy skin layer development (7). Try aloe vera to see if it helps reduce the appearance of the scar. You can buy a bottle of aloe vera gel or use fresh aloe.
- Clean the scar very carefully.
- Apply aloe vera gel on the scar.
- Allow the gel to dry on its own.
- Apply at least three times a day.
Using aloe can help if your scar is relatively fresh, but it may not be as effective on scars that are over a year old.
7. Onion Extract
Onion has been found to have a healing effect on scar tissue because it controls the generation of collagen (8). In fact, onion is actually used in some over-the-counter scar treatments. It has been known to reduce scar formation, therefore it’s especially helpful for treating keloids. You can make your own onion extract by taking the following steps:
- Dice a white onion.
- Place the onion bits in a cheesecloth, and tie a knot on the cloth.
- Place the cheesecloth in a bowl. Use a second bowl to press the onion parts so that the juice is extracted through the cheesecloth.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the onion juice to your keloids a few times a day.
8. Tea Tree Oil
- Mix 3-4 drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil, and rub onto the keloid scar three times a day.
9. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil has skin regenerating properties, which can help shrink your keloids (10).
- Mix 3-4 drops of lavender oil with olive oil.
- Apply the mixture on your keloid and massage gently for about 15 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy at least three times a day to get rid of your keloid.
10. Sandalwood and Rose Water
Rose water is a natural skin toner and sandalwood has many skin regenerating properties (11). When used together they can help prevent or shrink keloid scars.
- Make a thick paste of rose water and sandalwood powder.
- Apply the paste onto your keloid scar before going to bed. In the morning, wash the area with lukewarm water.
- Apply this remedy regularly for 2-3 months.
Medical Treatments for Keloids
It is best to use home remedies to get rid of keloids, but sometimes, you may have to use medical treatments (12).
1. Cortisone Injections
Cortisone injections may help reduce scars that are raised above the surface of the skin (13). They are usually given once a month until the maximum benefit is obtained. After a certain period of time the keloids should look flatter.
- Cortisone injections may help flatten keloids, but they don’t help the scars change back to your normal skin color.
2. Interferon Injections
3. OTC Scar Removal Ointments
These treatments often include steroids that help reduce itching, which can be a problem for people with keloid scars. Look for a product that contains onion skin extract, since studies have shown that it reduces the growth of scars.
- It may take several months for the treatment to work. Apply the ointment, cream or gel as directed on the bottle for the recommended period of time.
4. Silicone Sheets
This involves wearing a sheet of silicone gel on the scar for several hours a day for weeks or months to shrink the keloids (16). Some doctors claim similar success with compression dressings made from materials other than silicone.
5. Laser Treatments
The pulsed-dye laser can be effective at shrinking keloids and making them look less red. Laser treatment is safe and not very painful, but several treatment sessions may be needed. These may be expensive, since such treatments are not generally covered by insurance plans.
6. Surgical Removal
If you have keloids that actually impair movement, see a doctor about having them surgically removed. Plastic surgery is also available to make the skin look smoother and more uniform in color.
Surgery can be risky, because in some cases it can trigger the formation of a similar or even larger keloid. Some surgeons achieve success by injecting steroids or applying pressure dressings to the wound site after cutting away the keloid. Radiation after surgical excision has also been used.
Surgical treatment of scars can be expensive, but it may be the most effective way to significantly reduce their appearance.
- Do not try to physically remove or shrink a keloid yourself by cutting, sanding, constricting it with string or rubber bands, or using any other method that traumatizes the skin. Not only are you likely to see additional scar tissue form at the site, you can also put yourself at serious risk for infection.
- Do not use several home remedies at the same time in case different remedies may interact with each other.