Keloid - Effective Treatments

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What are the treatments for keloids?

The methods now available to treat keloids are:

  • Cortisone injections (intralesional steroids): These are safe and not very painful. Injections are usually given once every 4 to 8 weeks into the keloids) and usually help flatten keloids; however, steroid injections can also make the flattened keloid redder by stimulating the formation of more superficial blood vessels. (These can be treated using a laser; see below.) The keloid may look better after treatment than it looked to start with, but even the best results leave a mark that looks and feels quite different from the surrounding skin.
  • Surgery: This is risky, because cutting a keloid 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 for months after cutting away the keloid. Radiation after surgical excision has also been used.
  • Laser: The pulsed-dye laser can be effective at flattening keloids and making them look less red. Treatment is safe and not very painful, but several treatment sessions may be needed. These may be costly, since such treatments are not generally covered by insurance plans.
  • Silicone sheets: This involves wearing a sheet of silicone gel on the affected area continuously for months, which is hard to sustain. Results are variable. Some doctors claim similar success with compression dressings made from materials other than silicone.
  • Cryotherapy: Freezing keloids with liquid nitrogen may flatten them but often darkens or lightens the site of treatment.
  • Interferon: Interferons are proteins produced by the body's immune systems that help fight off viruses, bacteria, and other challenges. In recent studies, injections of interferon have shown promise in reducing the size of keloids, though it's not yet certain whether that effect will be lasting. Current research is underway using a variant of this method, applying topical imiquimod (Aldara), which stimulates the body to produce interferon.
  • Fluorouracil: Injections of this chemotherapy agent, alone or together with steroids, have been used as well for treatment of keloids.
  • Radiation: Some doctors have reported safe and effective use of radiation to treat keloids.

Previous contributing author: Alan Rockoff, MD

Return to Keloid

See what others are saying

Comment from: Jay, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 04

I first had a keloid develop on my chest, I think it was from an irritated hair follicle. Then grew two others. I started getting steroid injections. However due to the pain, I had to stop. I received 30 shots in each session 10 in each keloid. They have shrunk, but as luck would have it, as a result of the treatment I started developing keloids on my back, sort of in strategic locations, shoulder and lower back, where it is more muscle tissue. I no longer itch like crazy and they have shrunk quite a bit. I am wishing them away.

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Comment from: ANJ75, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I came by this site to show my husband what a keloid is and I am saddened by all of the stories I"ve read. I am no way an expert but I have two children that got keloids. My son got one from a chickenpox and my eldest daughter from a nose piercing. I was told by my grandmother to go get 100% tea tree oil and put it on twice a day. I did and both children"s keloids were gone in a few days. That was 15 years ago and many tattoos and piercings ago and they have yet to return. You can get tea tree oil (100%) at Sally"s. I hope it helps someone. Just put it on and it dries them up, smells really bad, but works. Good luck to all.

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