Can keloids go away naturally?

Keloids are a type of raised scar that grows beyond the original wound site. They are caused by an overgrowth of collagen during the skin’s healing process. Keloids can form after injuries, piercings, burns, acne, or surgery. They often continue to grow over time and can be itchy, painful, and cause emotional distress. Many people wonder if there are natural ways to get rid of keloids or prevent them from getting worse.

What Causes Keloids?

Keloids form due to an abnormal healing response in genetically susceptible individuals. They are more common in people with darker skin tones and tend to run in families. When the skin is injured, cells called fibroblasts rush to the wound site to produce collagen – a protein that provides structure and strength. In people prone to keloids, the fibroblasts overproduce collagen, causing the scar tissue to grow larger than necessary. This overgrowth extends beyond the original wound boundaries.

Researchers believe keloids form due to a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. Studies have linked keloids to:

  • Genetic mutations – Certain gene variations affect collagen production and inflammation.
  • Hormones – Hormonal changes during puberty and pregnancy increase keloid risk.
  • Tension – Keloids tend to form where skin is stretched tight, like the chest, shoulders, and earlobes.
  • Inflammation – Chronic inflammation triggers excessive collagen deposition.
  • Skin injury – Piercings, burns, cuts, acne, surgery, and other skin wounds can initiate keloid development.
  • Age – Keloids are more common in younger people between the ages of 10-30 years.

Do Keloids Ever Go Away on Their Own?

Keloids do not typically disappear without treatment. Once they form, they tend to persist indefinitely and often continue to slowly enlarge over time. There are a few cases where keloids have gone away on their own, but this spontaneous resolution is very rare.

One study followed 60 people with keloids over 5 years. After 5 years, 61% saw their keloids increase in size, 23% stayed the same size, and only 16% had keloids that became smaller. The keloids that reduced in size were relatively small to begin with. Larger keloids did not improve without treatment. This demonstrates that the natural course for most keloids is to persist and potentially worsen over time without intervention.

Can Keloids Be Removed Naturally?

While keloids do not disappear on their own, there are some natural remedies that may help reduce the size and symptoms of keloids when used consistently over time. Natural options for minimizing keloids include:

Onion Extract

Onion extract gel contains compounds that may help soften and flatten raised keloids. Applying onion extract to keloids daily for 2-3 months has been shown to significantly improve scar appearance, redness, and symptoms like pain and itchiness.


Honey has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and wound healing properties. Applying raw honey to keloids and massaging it in may reduce inflammation, soften the scar tissue, and improve healing over time. Need to use daily for at least 2 months.

Aloe Vera

The aloe vera plant has soothing properties that can aid wound healing. Applying aloe vera gel liberally to keloids and massaging gently may minimize symptoms and encourage healing. Works best when used daily.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is naturally high in acids that can help soften and flatten raised keloids when applied topically. It also has antimicrobial properties to prevent wound infections. Use a cotton pad to apply apple cider vinegar to keloids daily.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help reduce collagen production and scar formation when used topically. Capsules can be punctured and liquid vitamin E applied to keloids once or twice daily.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for wound healing and collagen formation. Taking vitamin C supplements or applying serums with vitamin C daily may gradually improve keloids over time.

Silicone Sheets or Gel

Silicone sheets and gel help keep keloids hydrated and apply gentle pressure to flatten and soften scar tissue. These are worn over keloids for 12+ hours per day.


Gently compressing keloids with tape, bandages, or silicone sheets can prevent additional collagen deposition, slowly improving their appearance.


Using liquid nitrogen to freeze keloids can destroy abnormal collagen fibers, gradually improving their texture. Repeat treatments are needed monthly.

Laser Therapy

Lasers apply targeted heat to break down thick, hardened scar tissue while leaving surrounding skin intact. Multiple laser sessions may help reduce keloids.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Worsening of Keloids

While natural remedies can improve the appearance of existing keloids, it’s also helpful to make lifestyle changes to prevent keloids from forming or getting worse after an injury. Recommendations include:

  • Avoid skin injuries like piercings and unnecessary surgery in areas prone to keloids.
  • Treat wounds gently – avoid scrubbing, touching excessively, or irritating wounds.
  • Apply gentle tape/gel to apply light pressure to closed wounds for 6-12 months.
  • Wear loose clothing to avoid irritated skin or friction on wounds.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme heat or cold immediately after an injury.
  • Quit smoking – chemicals in smoke can impair wound healing.
  • Manage stress levels – stress hormones may worsen keloids.
  • Avoid very hot showers on fresh wounds.

When to See a Doctor for Keloids

It’s best to have new keloids evaluated by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, especially if they appear rapidly or grow very large. Doctors can provide treatments like corticosteroid injections or recommend removal if keloids cause significant functional problems or distress.

See a physician promptly for:

  • Rapidly enlarging keloids
  • Keloids growing larger than 2 inches
  • Widespread keloid development after an injury
  • Very painful or itchy keloids
  • Keloids restricting movement
  • Facial keloids near eyes or mouth
  • Signs of infection – oozing, redness, warmth

With early evaluation and treatment, physicians can help minimize scarring and prevent severe disfigurement from uncontrolled keloid growth.

Medical Keloid Treatments

When natural remedies alone are insufficient to remove keloids, doctors have more aggressive treatment options to flatten and minimize scar tissue. Medical keloid treatments include:

Corticosteroid injections

Injecting keloids with corticosteroid drugs like Kenalog flattens and softens scar tissue by reducing inflammation and collagen production. Multiple injections are given monthly.


Liquid nitrogen freezing destroys fibroblasts and collagen bundles within keloids. This helps reduce scar volume when repeated every 3-4 weeks.

Silicone gel sheets

Special sheets with silicone gel are worn over keloids for 12+ hours daily to hydrate, soften, and flatten scars.


Low-dose radiation prevents excessive fibroblast activity and collagen deposition. This halts keloid growth and gradually shrinks the scar.

Laser treatment

Laser removal directs focused light energy to break down keloid tissue while sparing surrounding healthy skin.

Surgical removal

Cutting out the scar tissue and closing the wound with careful stitches. Often combined with other treatments to prevent recurrence.

Compression therapy

Applying tape, sleeves, or bandages to apply constant gentle pressure helps flatten and prevent growth of keloids.

Preventing Keloids with Medical Treatments

For those prone to extensive scarring, doctors may also recommend prophylactic treatment after surgery or wounds to prevent keloids from developing in the first place. Preventative options include:

  • Corticosteroid injections – Injecting injury sites to reduce inflammation.
  • Cryotherapy – Freezing new wounds briefly to destroy collagen-producing cells.
  • Radiation – Using low-dose radiation to prevent overgrowth of scar tissue.
  • Tension-reduction sutures – Special stitches that reduce skin tension.
  • Silicone gel sheets – Applying sheets after stitches are removed.

Risks and Side Effects of Medical Treatments

While medical treatments are effective at shrinking keloids, they do come with potential side effects and risks including:

  • Pain and tenderness from injections, freezing, and radiation.
  • Skin discoloration – Hyperpigmentation or lightening of treated skin.
  • Recurrence – Keloids may return after surgical removal without other treatments.
  • Infection – Opening the skin leaves wounds vulnerable to bacteria.
  • Scarring – Surgical excision creates new scar tissue that may also overgrow.
  • Skin irritation from silicone sheets and compression.

Doctors can help minimize risks and maximize results by carefully tailoring combination treatments to each patient’s unique situation.

Home Remedies vs Medical Treatments for Keloids: Which Is More Effective?

For mild or early keloids, home remedies using natural ingredients may help improve their texture and appearance over time. However, home remedies alone are usually not enough to resolve severe, complex keloids.

Medical treatments like steroid injections and cryotherapy are more effective for shrinking large, established keloids. They work better than natural remedies alone in most cases. The most successful approach is often combining medical treatments to rapidly shrink the scar tissue along with home remedies and lifestyle changes to help maintain results long-term.

Home Remedies

  • Slow, gradual improvement over months
  • Minimal risk of side effects
  • Often not potent enough for severe scars
  • Requires diligent long-term use for best results

Medical Treatments

  • Faster, more dramatic shrinking of keloids
  • More effective for severe, longstanding keloids
  • Risk of side effects like pain and pigment changes
  • Results usually temporary without ongoing care

Tips for Using Natural Remedies Safely and Effectively

Natural remedies can serve as helpful adjuncts to medical keloid treatment when used properly. Tips for safe, effective use include:

  • Perform patch test – Test new topical remedies on a small area first to check for skin irritation before wider application.
  • Apply gently – Massage remedies into keloids gently using clean hands. Avoid pressing too hard or scrubbing.
  • Avoid opening wounds – Open keloids bleed easily and risk infection. Do not pick or pop.
  • Keep treating – Applying remedies once or twice does little. Continue consistent applications for 2-3 months.
  • Protect skin – Cover treated keloids with gauze if wearing tight clothing/seatbelts to prevent friction.
  • Monitor changes – Watch for improvements or worsening and discuss progress with your doctor.
  • Communicate – Tell your physician about any natural remedies used to allow coordination of treatment.


Keloids are challenging to treat, and often a combination approach works best. Natural remedies can help improve milder keloids gently over time. More significant keloids usually require medical procedures as well for optimal flattening and shrinkage. Home treatments can then help maintain results. Remember to be patient and persistent when applying natural remedies, discuss progress regularly with your doctor, and follow wound care precautions to support healing and prevent recurrence.

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