If you’ve ever discovered a raised scar that extends beyond your original wound (whether it’s a surgical scar, a piercing, or a common cut), you may have a keloid. This abnormal-looking rapid tissue growth can be unsightly and sometimes even uncomfortable. Luckily, we share how to get rid of keloids so you don’t have to keep reliving the reason for the overgrown scar. Ahead, experts share home remedies, medical treatments, and prevention methods for the type of scar.
What is a keloid?
A keloid is an abnormal growth of scar tissue in which the scar tissue extends beyond the original edges of the scar, according to Mamina Turegano, MD, triple board-certified dermatologist, internist, dermatopathologist and co-founder of Skintap.com. “There seems to be a genetic predisposition to developing keloids,” she explains, adding that they’re more common in people of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent. “We see them appearing more frequently on the torso (chest, shoulders, upper back) and ears. But they can appear anywhere on the body.”
How are keloids formed?
dr Turegano says keloids can form after an injury, but they can also appear in a surgical scar, an ear piercing, a tattoo, or in skin conditions like acne or chickenpox.
There are a few different ways you can either reduce their appearance or smooth out their texture – depending on where they are and how big they are – including home remedies and pharmaceutical solutions that can help you get rid of keloids completely.
Keloid home remedies
There are many over-the-counter methods that can help reduce the size and appearance of your scars. “Home remedies may include silicone sheets or gels, or the use of compression or pressure earrings, bandages, or clothing,” explains Dr. Turegano.
silicone sheets and gels
dr Turegano says silicone sheets and gels, which you can buy at your pharmacy and certain retail stores, can reduce the size, color, and texture of keloids. These treatments work by rehydrating the keloid scar tissue and regulating collagen production, making the skin softer and flatter. Follow manufacturer’s directions for best results.
Similar to silicone sheets and gels, Dr. Turegano that you can use pressure bandages to reduce the size and appearance of keloids. These can also be purchased over the counter and work by putting pressure on the keloid scar and reducing blood flow, preventing further growth – although this is often the most successful at preventing keloids from returning after they have already been successfully removed. Follow manufacturer’s directions for best results.
Raw honey has been shown to have certain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which has made it a great tool in many DIY arsenals. To use honey to reduce the appearance of your keloid scar, it is recommended that you apply enough to cover the scar, leave it on until the honey becomes sticky, and then wash it off. You can use this method several times a day until you get rid of your scar.
Another popular remedy for removing keloid scars is corticosteroid cream, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling that can contribute to the appearance of keloid scars. You can find a variety of corticosteroid ointments at your local pharmacy. However, many people find that they get the best results with a prescription-strength cream.
Aspirin helps reduce the appearance of keloid scars by preventing the cells that form the scars from entering the wound site in the first place. To do this, you can crush about three aspirins and mix them with enough water to form a paste. Apply to the scar and leave on for 30 to 40 minutes a day and then rinse. Repeat as needed or until you are happy with the way your skin looks.
according to dr Turegano offers the most effective treatments in a dermatologist’s office. “Keloids may respond to injectable drugs (typically corticosteroids) given in the dermatologist’s office,” she says. “Surgery, laser treatment, radiation and chemotherapy are other options for more resistant or severe cases.”
surgery and laser treatment
Surgical procedures — such as those performed with a scalpel and those performed with a laser — are good options for harder-to-remove keloids. While these more invasive methods can be used, it’s important to combine them with additional treatment methods (such as some of the at-home and OTC options listed above). According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, nearly 100% of all surgically removed keloid scars will eventually come back, which is why it’s important to incorporate prevention into your post-operative wound care.
radiation and chemotherapy
For those wishing to get rid of keloids in areas that may not be as easily accessible surgically, for those who have had a high rate of recurrence with previous treatments, or for those who have already undergone surgical removal and are looking for concomitant treatment, Radiation can be an option. Promising results have been shown to be achieved in combination with surgical removal radiation using low-dose X-ray radiation.
According to Macrene Alexiades, MD, Ph.D., of the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery in New York, the best way to get rid of keloids is to avoid them. “Good wound care — washing the area immediately with soap and water, keeping it sterile with gauze, gently cleaning wounds regularly, protecting skin from the sun — are important preventive measures,” she says. “In addition, appropriate silicone gel dressings are applied and dermatological therapy is started at the first sign of the keloid to prevent it from growing.”
dr Alexiades says she believes keloids behave like benign tumors of the skin; the fibroblasts – the cells that produce collagen – multiply and produce collagen in keloids out of control. “Once you grasp the concept, you urgently need to shut down those fibroblasts and put them in the ‘off’ position to stop the keloid tumor from regrowing.”
Lauren Wellbank is a freelance writer writing about finance, wellness and parenting. Her writing has been published in HuffPost, Apartment Therapy, The Washington Post, and others. When she is not working, Lauren plays in the garden with her husband, children and puppy.