Certain medical treatments, including creams and injections, may help reduce the appearance of keloid scars. Some home remedies may also help.

Keloids are raised buildups of scar tissue on the skin. They usually form and grow after a wound, puncture, burn, or blemish has healed.

For some people, this scar tissue is more pronounced and darker than the rest of their skin tone.

Black person with keloid on forearm near elbowShare on Pinterest
Harold Diaz Lara/Shutterstock

There are some medical treatments that can help reduce the appearance of keloids, though it’s best to run them by your doctor before trying.

Retinoid cream

Retinoid cream is a derivative of vitamin A or retinol. Much like natural remedies, such as garlic or onion, a 2010 review of studiesTrusted Source notes that the cream has been clinically suggested to reduce keloid appearance.

Make sure to follow the directions on the retinoid cream product you purchase.


Silicone gel or sheets may be a go-to recommendation from a doctor. A 2014 trialTrusted Source found silicone gel just as effective as retinoid cream. Follow instructions or directions on the silicone product you purchase or those prescribed by a doctor.

Steroid injections

Injections of steroidal anti-inflammatories have been known to help with keloids. However, these have been shown to be more effective following major treatments for keloids. Treatments include surgical scar removal, laser treatment, and more, as noted in a 2022 review.

A combination of different injected steroids has also been shown to be more successful in a 2021 analysisTrusted Source. Varying recurrence rates were reported, however. Talk with a doctor about using injected steroids in combination with surgery, laser removal, or other operations.

Discover local dermatologists with Healthline FindCare. Filter by insurance carrier, availability, and more to find the right fit for you.

There are ways you can prevent keloids from forming. If you’ve already developed keloids, certain measures can be taken to prevent more from developing.

Avoid cosmetic surgery

While some surgery is necessary, avoid procedures such as cosmetic surgery if possible. Surgical changes to the skin can cause keloids to form.

If you’ve had keloids from surgery or think you might get them, consider deciding against having elective surgery. Elective surgeries may include surgeries that aren’t intended to save your life or needed to improve your health.

Avoid (more) tattoos or piercings

Tattoos and piercings may commonly cause keloids. In a way, they can be considered elective surgery. If you’re prone to keloids, think thoroughly about whether you want keloids or not if you invest in tattoos or piercings.

Avoid skin picking and pimple popping

Try to prevent yourself from picking or popping acne on your skin. The inflammation caused by these habits can lead to keloids.

Keloids result from an exaggerated form of natural processes of scarring in the body.

Home remedies can help quite a bit with keloids: they can reduce size and pigmentation, making them less noticeable. Home remedies are especially effective right after getting a wound, puncture, or burn.

If keloids don’t improve with the help of home remedies, talk with a doctor about other treatments. They may recommend OTC or prescribed creams and gels.

Surgical and laser removal are also successful treatment options if other methods don’t work. Keep in mind that whatever method is used to treat keloids, once they occur, they have a very high chance of returning.