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
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Depending on appearance, you may want to get rid of the keloids you have.

Medical treatments

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 studies 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 trial 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 analysis. Varying recurrence rates were reported, however. Talk with a doctor about using injected steroids in combination with surgery, laser removal, or other operations.

Home remedies

There are a few possible ways to get rid of or minimize your keloids. You may try a few of these home methods first if approved by a dermatologist for prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) approaches.


A 2020 review and a 2015 study suggest that aspirin may help treat keloids. Research found that aspirin prevents scar-promoting cells from entering the keloid site. As a result, both pigmentation and keloid size are reduced. Aspirin can be applied topically at home.

To try this remedy:

  1. Crush 3 to 4 aspirin tablets.
  2. Mix the tablets with enough water to form a paste.
  3. Apply the paste to the keloid or wound site.
  4. Let the paste sit for 1 or 2 hours, then rinse.
  5. Repeat once every day until desired results are achieved.
  6. Discontinue use or reduce application time if the aspirin paste irritates or burns your skin.


This root vegetable works much like aspirin, according to a 2011 dermatology report. Garlic blocks certain enzymes from entering the site that contribute to tissue and pigment buildup. Over time, application may help lighten scars.

To use this method:

  1. Take 2 to 3 fresh garlic cloves and crush them.
  2. Apply to the keloid area and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. Wash off with water and apply moisturizer.
  4. Discontinue use or reduce application time if the garlic burns your skin.


Honey contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce keloids. Honey was mentioned in a 2020 study for its healing potential with keloids specifically. It’s an appealing natural alternative without the potential side effects associated with corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin.

For this method:

  1. Dab a bit of raw honey (organic honey is recommended) on the site and let it sit.
  2. Rinse the honey off later if the site gets sticky.
  3. Reapply honey as often as needed. It’s recommended that you use honey at least two to three times per day until you get your desired results.


Quite a few studies support the use of onion for keloids. A 2013 study found that the use of onion extract stopped fibroblasts — the cells that produce scar tissue — from entering the skin.

Another study in 2012 found that onion extract gel sped up healing time and reduced scar height. In a 2011 trial, onion extract gel reduced pigmentation. The gel’s effectiveness is most likely due to it containing quercetin, a flavanol with antioxidant properties.

To use this remedy:

  1. Cut a small onion into small pieces. A red, white, or yellow onion is fine to use.
  2. Squeeze out the juice by compressing it with a clean cloth.
  3. Apply the juice to the keloid area and let it sit until dry.
  4. Rinse and apply three to four times per day until you see your desired results.

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.